Pedal power raises £3k for good causes

Wolseley cyclists James Haigh, Steve Lofthouse, Bryan Naisbitt, Matt Newsome, Tom Denley, Chris Slater, Niall Frost and John Crichton with Yvonne Covell from Scuba Diving for All and St Michael's Hospice Community Fundraiser Kathryn Roche.  (120618M1)
Wolseley cyclists James Haigh, Steve Lofthouse, Bryan Naisbitt, Matt Newsome, Tom Denley, Chris Slater, Niall Frost and John Crichton with Yvonne Covell from Scuba Diving for All and St Michael's Hospice Community Fundraiser Kathryn Roche. (120618M1)
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A team of volunteer cyclists from Wolseley UK have handed over cheques worth £3,000 to two local charities following a gruelling bike ride.

The money was raised by staff based in Ripon who cycled a 170-mile route, called the Way of the Roses, in March and funds raised have been split between Ripon’s Scuba Diving for All and Saint Michael’s Hospice in Harrogate.

Scuba Diving For All, which stages the Great Ripon Raft Race each August at Ripon’s Canal Basin, helps people with disabilities to learn to scuba dive.

The charity is currently fundraising to buy essential new equipment as much of it is over 10-years-old and requires replacement. 

Founder Yvonne Covell, who accepted the cheque on behalf of Scuba Diving For All, said: “We’re thrilled to receive this help from the Wolseley UK employees who undertook this bike ride for us – it will go a long way to helping us purchase some vital new equipment.

“Thank you to every member of the cycling team who took part, including those unable to make the cheque handover today.”

Harrogate’s Saint Michael’s Hospice, the second recipient of the money raised, provides specialist hospice and respite care as well as support services for people coping with terminal illness or bereavement. 

Kathryn Roche, who accepted the cheque on behalf of the charity, said: “We are thrilled to see so many people supporting us in Ripon as we are a local charity that receives little funding, so we rely heavily on donations from supporters.

“We’d also like to thank the Wolseley UK staff for their hard work and fundraising efforts.”

The cyclists rode from Morecambe in Lancashire, passing through Ripon, before arriving at their final destination, Bridlington, on the east coast. The ride took 16 hours to complete.

Cycle team co-ordinator Chris Slater said: “This was a great team effort and just goes to prove what you can achieve when a few people pull together for a common cause.”

Ride organiser Mujtaba Abbas, an accountant in Wolseley UK’s Finance Department, added: “It was probably more gruelling than we all expected, despite having great weather.

“The section between Settle and Grassington was particularly challenging, as anyone who has cycled that road will know.

“We were all glad to see Ripon’s market square on the Saturday and we had a great welcome there from colleagues, friends and family.”

Members of the local community also helped support the ride.

Ripon cycle shop Moonglu, on Blossomgate, stepped in to perform an emergency bike repair after one of the riders’ bikes suffered a buckled wheel in a fall.

And John Smith’s Coaches, in Thirsk, also helped with transport to and from the coastal points, along with the Wolseley UK Melmerby Distribution Centre team.

* Scuba Diving for All’s Great Ripon Raft Race returns to the city on Saturday, August 25, during the bank holiday weekend.

The event –which is staged at the Canal Basin on Boroughbridge Road – has been held since 2006.

Last year the Lamb and Flag team came first in the final, making it the third year running the Ripon pub had provided the winning team.

Despite torrential rain bringing last year’s proceedings to a premature end, the day still raised a record £2,300.