Ex-Cats swap boots for bikes

Red's owner, Susan Hall is taking part in a charity bike ride across the Alps with Freddie Flintoff and Lawrence Dallaglio.

Red's owner, Susan Hall is taking part in a charity bike ride across the Alps with Freddie Flintoff and Lawrence Dallaglio.

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FORMER Sunderland stars will get on their bikes and join a husband-and-wife team to help the Black Cats’ charity.

Michael Gray, Chris Makin and Graham Kavanagh will be among those taking part in the SAFC Foundation’s Dublin to Sunderland cycle challenge.

They will join Harry and Susan Hall, owners of Reds hair and beauty salon in East Herrington, for the gruelling 380 mile event.

Harry, 49, from Houghton, said: “Susan and I have always been keen cyclists and we do quite a lot of charity cycles and the SAFC Foundation have not ever done a charity challenge so we approached the foundation with the idea.

“They were very open to it and had never considered using cycling to raise money and I think they have been quite surprised at the uptake and enthusiasm for it.”

The team are looking for volunteers to get involved and tackle the mammoth ride for the foundation, to help fund its community work.

Volunteers will take on five days of cycling from Dublin to Sunderland.

The cyclists will fly out to Dublin on July 17 and will set off after a night to get ready for the challenge ahead.

Harry is confident they will get the 40 to 50 people they are after to join them on the route, which has been planned by CycleWild.

Harry said: “I think the problem we are going to have is limiting it. There will be an awful lot of people wanting to do this ride, especially with the club’s involvement.

Lynsey Thompson, event organiser and head of development at SAFC Foundation, said: “This will be a once-in-lifetime experience for those who take place, with the route taking in some breathtaking views. It guarantees to be very challenging but very rewarding too.”

The registration fee is £250 and participants will be expected to raise at least £1,250 in sponsorship, with the rest of the challenge costs being paid from this minimum sponsorship amount.

Harry said: “Anybody can do this and if people are unsure on what bike to use they can get information from Cycleworld.”

The SAFC Foundation will pay for the challenge costs which include flights, food, and accommodation.

Harry and Susan already have a lot of cycling experience – Susan has completed charity cycles in France, Vietnam and is due to cycle across the Alps in another fund-raiser with Freddie Flintoff later this year.

To sign up for the challenge or for more details visit the SAFC Foundation at website at www.safc.com/page/foundation or Reds Hair and Beauty at www.redshairandbeauty.com.

Twitter: @sunechohannah