A PAIR of Berwick bobbies are cycling from north east England to west Wales this week to raise money for Help for Heroes.
Duncan Budge and Steven Flook will attempt to cycle the 500 mile Toon-to-Town challenge in just five days.
Accompanied by 13 others, Duncan and Steve set out on their epic challenge from the Angel of the North on Tuesday. They will cycle around a 100 miles a day, from Newcastle to York; York to Nottingham; Nottingham to Worcester; Worcester to Brecon; and finally Brecon to Llanelli.
“Somebody that we work with in Bedlington is organising it and he mentioned it last summer - I said I’d do it and it kind of snowballed from there,” Duncan explained. “I forgot all about it until I got an email just before Christmas reminding me what I’d let myself in for!”
More at home on the rugby pitch than in the saddle, Duns RFC second rower Duncan has managed to cover some miles on the bike in preparation for the challenge ahead.
“I stayed off the bike until the rugby season finished, then I started to get out a bit,” he said. “I’ve never done anything as far as we will be doing though - I’m by no means a cyclist. The longest I’ve done is about 60 miles and I had a sore backside the next day!
“Steve has cycled up to Dundee so he did about 140 miles over the two days. He’s done the longest rides whereas I have probably been out a bit more, so we’ll just have to see how we get on.”
Steve has previously completed triathlons and he is currently in training for the Edinburgh Marathon. But he says he’s never attempted anything like the challenge ahead.
“A lot of it is going to be cross country and the wind can play a big part, but we will make it to the end. Not completing it is not an option!” he said.
Next week’s ride is the third annual ‘Toon to Town’ challenge organised by Giles Evans, who first cycled from Newcastle to his birthplace, Llanelli, in 2010. The previous two rides raised £6,500. But Giles has set a target of £10,000 in new funds for this year’s charity, Help for Heroes.
And with sponsorship and donations pouring in, it looks like the 2012 team are going to smash their target.
Duns RFC have made a hefty contribution after holding a fundraising day in support of their teammate, when they washed cars, held a raffle and disco, and donated the gate money from their last game of the season.
The Berwick army cadets have raised £500 with a street collection, and a combination of selling Help for Heroes merchandise and a collection held at Morrison’s on Saturday raised over £2,000.
Haggerston Castle is also making a donation, and there will be a bucket collection at Berwick Rangers’ last home game of the season on May 5, as well as a raffle to win a pair of Berwick Rangers tickets, plus a night at the Alannah House Bed and Breakfast.
“People have really got behind us,” Duncan said. “With most of the riders being from down the road, it’s great that Steve and I can contribute from up here.”
Help for Heroes is a charity that Steve, whose daughter is in the airforce, is particularly keen to support. “My daughter is going to Afgahnistan in June for the third time in four years,” he explained. “Hopefully she’ll never need the support of Help for Heroes, but it is an important charity.
“The donations so far have been incredible, and we want to thank all the local people and businesses who have made a contribution.”