Riders are preparing to saddle up and hit the road once again in memory of a much-missed Sunderland soldier.
This Sunday, for the eighth year running, Cuthy’s Big Bike Ride will see hundreds of charity bike riders make the 60 mile-trek from Catterick Garrison to Ashbrooke Sports Ground in memory of paratrooper Nathan Cuthbertson.
Popular Nathan, a former St Aidan’s pupil from Tunstall, was just 19 when he was killed in a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan in June 2008.
Since then his family and friends have kept his legacy alive by raising thousands of pounds for military and civilian charities.
After leaving Catterick at about 7am on Sunday, groups of 20 riders will make their way back to Wearside, with the finishing line at Ashbrooke Sports Club, close to the city centre.
Organising the event as usual have been Nathan’s devoted parents Tom, 47, and Carla, 44.
“Hopefully it’ll be another great day with plenty of people turning out,” said Tom.
“We’d really like it to be a nice day in terms of the weather but the forecast looks a little bit hit and miss so we’ve got our fingers crossed.”
The first riders are scheduled to arrive at Ashbrooke from about 3pm onwards, with activities such as face-painting and even a climbing wall being put on for visitors.
Parachute display team the Red Devils are also set to perform a jump from the skies at 5pm.
Tom added that the support shown by the Sunderland public ever since Nathan’s death continues to be greatly appreciated by all who knew him.
“It’s just massive for us and we can’t thank people enough,” he said.
“We had to stop taking entries back in March because we had the maximum of 250 who can take part.
“It’s a real shame that we’ve got to turn people away who would want to do the ride, but we’re hoping in future years we’ll have more volunteers and others helping to organise so that more can get involved.
“It’s quite the logistical operation.”
A barbecue and beer tent will also be operating on the afternoon.
Visitors are welcome at Ashbrooke Sports Club from midday onwards.