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Record smashed

Northamptonshire’s pedallers have done it again, setting another record fundraising total after taking part in the annual charity bike ride, Cycle 4 Cynthia.

Just over thirteen hundred riders took to the saddle in the event staged at Lamport Hall last September, raising an incredible total in entry fees and sponsorship of almost £64,000 - some £12,000 more than last year.

Ninety per cent of the money will go to Cynthia Spencer Hospice and the remainder to Kidsaid, the Northampton-based charity which provides support for children and young people who have suffered abuse, bereavement, bullying and family problems.

The details were revealed at the launch event for the 2015 ride staged at Franklin’s Gardens, home to Northampton Saints rugby team, on 11th February. Saints coach Jim Mallinder, player Christian Day and fellow forward Sam Dickinson, who opened last year’s ride, were on hand to present the trophies to the prize winners.

Having ridden in the event the previous two years, Jim was unable to take part in 2014 owing to his side’s fixture at Newcastle but, subject to the playing calendar, has already pledged that he will cycle this year - and will bring some of his Saintsmen!

Launch host Sue Bownass from the Hospice thanked all those who’d helped to make its eleventh anniversary such a success and spoke particularly of the spirit of the ride: 'In eleven years, Cycle 4 Cynthia has grown from being just a few people pedalling to well over a thousand last year and yet the same sentiments of passion, commitment, courage and a desire to make a difference to other people’s lives are always there,' explained Sue.

'So on behalf of both charities I want to say a massive thank you to everyone involved, from the marshals and volunteers who hand out medals, to the folks who man the pit stops and of course to the cyclists themselves for showing such wonderful spirit – and here’s hoping that our twelfth ride will be just as amazing, if not better!'

It was that spirit, demonstrated in one new partnership, which led to John Walters from Rushden being presented with the Chairman’s Prize; John crossed the finishing line with a Russian rider named Alex, the two of them having forged a friendship en route after encouraging and helping each other for their final few miles.

Meanwhile Mandy Dawson from Stowe School, whose husband Mike passed away at the hospice last October after being diagnosed with cancer just weeks earlier, received the trophy for the largest sum raised by an individual – an incredible £6165.

The trophy for the largest team went to St Andrew’s, who fielded an impressive 34 pedallers while for the fifth year in a row, Steven Sanders picked up the prize for best fancy dress, leading his team of ‘minions’ from Nationwide after being inspired by the hit animation film of 2010, ‘Despicable Me’.

The final announcement of the night was the exciting news that Cycle 4 Cynthia 2015, again offering riders 5, 25 or 50 mile routes, is returning to Althorp, (its home from 2011-13), by kind permission of The Earl and Countess Spencer and will take place on Sunday 13th September.

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