A group of self-confessed “fat middle-aged blokes” from Preston are taking on a coast to coast cycle challenge to raise money for the Baby Beat Appeal.Advertisement
The group is led by Clarke Steele, who benefitted from Baby Beat’s support after he and wife Michelle lost baby Louis in 2006.
Along with Clarke, Jason Lynch, Dave Hewitson, Lee Whitehead, Mark Woan, Darren Lynch, Mick Scott, John Coffey, Colin Hughes and Ian Grant will cycle the Way of the Roses – a 200 mile journey from Morecambe over the Pennines to Bridlington in Yorkshire.
Completing the team are Paul Hobson, who is providing the support vehicle, and Mark Illingworth who will be driving it.
Clarke’s JustGiving page says: “Now I know this is only 200 miles and I have friends who would do this before breakfast, but me and the magnificent seven who are doing it are fat middle-aged blokes whose idea of exercise is when we have to run to the toilet at 3 in the morning. So if you can spare anything please do.”
Each member of the group has had children or knows someone whose child has benefitted from the Baby Beat Appeal, which provides funding for equipment, research and bereavement support at the Sharoe Green Maternity Unit at Royal Preston Hospital.
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The Baby Beat Appeal is now looking to fund a new bereavement centre, which will cost around £70,000, and the team is hoping to raise £5,000 towards it.
Team member Ian said: “While we’ve been training the lads have talked about why we’re involved and what we want to achieve, and we all have very similar backgrounds.
“None of us have been cyclists, in fact we’ve all picked up a bike for the first time in years at the start of 2019. We’ve invested a lot in the challenge, and we’re averaging around 50 hours of training and around 600 miles each.
“We’re all on Strava, which means things can get quite competitive. It’s funny because you’ll see someone goes out training and then someone else will fly out after them.
“We haven’t been able to all get out together to train but different groups will go on different nights. We’ve had a few falls and I’ve had to take a few weeks off after coming off the bike and dislocating my shoulder.”
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The group will set off on Friday 28 June and spend the first night in Pateley Bridge. They will then head to Pocklington where they will spend the night before completing the challenge and arriving in Bridlington on Sunday afternoon.
Ian said: “The Way of the Roses is definitely not an easy challenge. Some do it in one day and some take four, but we’re aiming to complete the challenge in three days. We’ve tried to plan it so we can keep it fun and have a beer and a bacon butty or two along the way.”
As well as raising money the team is looking for local businesses who may be able to provide practical help, such as lifts to the starting point or first aid training.
Donations can be made to Clarke’s JustGiving page or Ian’s JustGiving page.
What do you think of the team’s challenge? Have you benefited from the support at Sharoe Green Maternity Unit? Let us know in the comments below.