Inspired by Bell View

Mike Clay who's 4 day 351 mile bike ride will include: 'Sunderland-Belford'Belford-Musselburgh (via Berwick)'Musselburgh-Belford'Belford-Sunderland
Mike Clay who's 4 day 351 mile bike ride will include: 'Sunderland-Belford'Belford-Musselburgh (via Berwick)'Musselburgh-Belford'Belford-Sunderland

A former diabetic is about to embark on a 350-mile cycle ride to raise funds for Bell View day-care centre in Belford.

Mike Clay, 55, is riding from Sunderland to Edinburgh and back via Belford from Sunday until next Wednesday.

The Sunderland-based contemporary artist said: “My mother, Jean Clay lived in Tweedmouth, sharing a bungalow with Mrs Neville (known as Johnnie), and before she died seven years ago, I promised to help Johnnie. In June 2014, I helped Johnnie move to Bell View Court, in Belford.

“I was impressed by the Bell View day centre’s aim in supporting elderly people in living as part of the community, so I suggested this bike ride to raise money for them.”

It is a challenge that would have been unthinkable for Mike just a few years ago.

“I’ve never done anything like this before,” said Mike. “Two years ago, I had a troublesome ingrowing toenail, and went to the doctors’ with it. After blood tests, I was told that I had type-two diabetes; one of the options was to lose a bit of weight.

“With a sensible diet and a little exercise, I lost more than five stone in a year, and recovered a lot of energy.

“I now am diabetes-free, and want to achieve something useful as a result.

“Many of my ancestors came from Eyemouth and Edinburgh, so a circular bike ride through Belford, Eyemouth and Edinburgh seemed an appropriate aim. Hopefully I won’t get too lost!”

The first leg of his journey will be from Sunderland to Belford. The next day he will carry on to Musselburgh, passing through Berwick.

He will follow the same route on his way back south over the following two days.

If anyone would like to sponsor him or make a donation, a sponsor form and collection tin are at Bell View. A collection tin will also be in the Blue Bell in Belford.