Friends take on cycle marathon for cancer mum

Ready for their cycling trip across France raising money for the Breast Cancer Care charity, left to right; Ian Stafford, Mick Wood and Charlie Bentley.
Ready for their cycling trip across France raising money for the Breast Cancer Care charity, left to right; Ian Stafford, Mick Wood and Charlie Bentley.
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A MUM diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant with triplets has helped inspire a pal’s charity bike ride across France.

Charles Bentley, 61, former captain and coach of Sunderland Rugby Club, is taking on the challenge, along with Ian Stafford, 58, Michael Ward, 61, and Colin Smith, 60.

The friends are cycling to raise money for Breast Cancer Care and are aiming to raise £2,000.

Charles’ sister, June Bentley, died from breast cancer 10 years ago, aged 66, and a former work colleague, Eileen Richardson, overcame breast cancer.

Eileen was diagnosed with the disease when she was 27 weeks pregnant with triplets.

After doctors decided to deliver the triplets at 29 weeks, Eileen had a mastectomy half an hour later and began chemotherapy the following day.

Eileen, 58, from Ashbrooke, said: “It’s absolutely wonderful what Charlie is doing. Anything that can people can do is great.

“Charlie was a fantastic support during that time. He always has a smile on his face and always knows the right thing to say.”

Eileen is now mum to 10-year-old Gabriella, Francesca and Nico, who attend St Mary’s School.

The proud mum went on to set up a charity called Hug in a Bag, which gives a bag filled with information, gifts and vouchers to every person diagnosed with breast cancer in Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Charles, from East Herrington, owns a business that designs and builds luxury villas. “I’m not nervous,” he said. “I’m more excited really.”

Charles, Ian and Michael, from Sunderland, and Colin, from Darlington, will set off on their trip on Monday.

They will cycle 85 miles a day over 12 days starting at Le Mont Saint-Michel in northern France and finishing in Narbonne in the south.

Charles had a hip replacement six years ago and is due another this year, but this has not stopped him.

Charles said: “It’s my way of getting fit for the operation. I’m never defeated in anything.”

To donate visit Charles’ Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/Charles-Bentley.

Twitter: @sunechohannah