Raging storms fail to deter south Warwickshire cyclists in Ride London

Gemma Fitzpatrick in training before taking part in the Ride London 86-mile cycle to raise funds for Farm Africa.

Gemma Fitzpatrick in training before taking part in the Ride London 86-mile cycle to raise funds for Farm Africa.

Torrential rain may have battered down on them and they may have had to contend with flooded roads, gales and very poor visibility.

But cyclists from south Warwickshire have raised thousands of pounds for charity by taking part in the Ride London 86-mile cycle through London and Surrey on Sunday (August 10).

Among the 24,000 amateur cyclists to take part in the event, which ran along the 2012 Olympics cycling route - but was cut short from the original 100-mile route due to the bad weather conditions, were Martin Haworth, from Kenilworth, and Gemma Fitzpatrick, from Leamington, who both work for the National Farmers Union (NFU).

Martin, the NFU’s deputy director general, completed the course in four hours, 28 minutes and 31 seconds, while 31-year-old Gemma, senior campaigns advisor, finished it in six hours, 21 minutes and ten seconds.

The colleagues were raising funds for Farm Africa, which supports smallholder farmers in eastern Africa. Martin said: “We British farmers genuinely have a concern for our farming colleagues around the world and it’s fantastic to have the opportunity to do something that can raise money for such a worthwhile cause.”

Gemma, who trained with her keen cyclist partner Chris to enable her to take on the challenge, said: “I like the fact that Farm Africa provides long-term solutions at grassroots level and they give people the opportunity to help themselves and to take pride in what they do.”

Martin and Gemma cycled with other NFU staff, who together have so far raised £3,780 for Farm Africa. To add to their fundraising, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/NFURideLondon2014 to sponsor Martin and uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/NFURideLondon2014 to sponsor Gemma.

Leamington mother-of-two Helen Sabin, is one of around 150 women in the UK to have the lung condition lymphangioleiomyomatosis (known as LAM). She was rooting for her brother James Blackburn, who also took part in Ride London, as the 47-year-old took on the challenge to raise funds in support of Helen for LAM Action in the hope that the charity will gain enough funding to find an effective treatment for the rare condition. He completed the route in five hours, 25 minutes and 20 seconds.

James said: “We had a great day for what was a brilliantly organised event. The riders were outstanding and the crowds were amazing, cheering us all on, rain or shine. It has been a pleasure to raise money for LAM Action and help raise more awareness.”

To sponsor James, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=JamesBlackburnRideLondon

Steve Chapman, 33, of Southam, who also took part in the event, has raised £700 for Breaks For Kids, a charitable fund run by the Youth Hostelling Association (YHA), which provides bursaries to children from disadvantaged backgrounds to enable them to take part in trips away at YHA hostels.

The deputy manager of YHA Stratford was keen to raise awareness of the charity. He said: “It was brilliant - a great day. The weather was horrific and poor visibility made it difficult, but it was really well organised.”

Steve can be sponsored at www.justgiving.com/stevechapman100




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