Sunderland bus drivers are getting on their bikes for charity

Mark Glendenning is doing a charity cycle ride for Rett UK.
He's pictured with partner Sandra Vincent and daughter Geena, who suffers from Rett.
Mark Glendenning is doing a charity cycle ride for Rett UK. He's pictured with partner Sandra Vincent and daughter Geena, who suffers from Rett.
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A team of city bus drivers will be taking to the roads with a different mode of transport to raise money for charity.

The eight Go North East workers are in training ahead of a gruelling 900-mile cycle ride to boost funds for Rett UK.

Mark Glendenning, left, and James Halley are two of the eight Go North East workers doing the charity ride for Rett UK.

Mark Glendenning, left, and James Halley are two of the eight Go North East workers doing the charity ride for Rett UK.

Mark Glendenning, 45, who is being joined by seven of his fellow bus drivers, chose the charity because his daughter, Geena, 19, has the condition Rett Syndrome.

The ride will be no leisurely stroll, as the team aims to pedal non-stop, completing the challenge in 48 hours.

Setting off at Land’s End on Saturday, May 28, they will tackle it in teams of two riders changing every few hours, arriving in John O’Groats on Monday, May 30.

Mark’s partner, Sandra Vincent, 46, said she is proud of the drivers for taking on the challenge. They have already raised £1,600 for the charity through pledges and are hoping as many people as possible will sponsor the riders.

I have had a lot of support from the charity

Sandra Vincent

Sandra, who cares for Geena round-the-clock, said she has had a lot of support from Rett UK and wants to help them.

She said: “As well as raising money for the charity, it is also about raising awareness of the condition.

“I have had a lot of support from the charity and I now also give support to other parents where a child is newly diagnosed.”

Rett syndrome is a rare neurological disorder affecting mainly girls. It is present from conception, but usually remains undetected until major regression occurs at around one year of age, when children lose skills and become withdrawn.

People with Rett syndrome have profound and multiple physical and communication disabilities and are totally reliant on others.

Sandra, who lives in Foxlair Close, Sunderland, with her family, said it was heartbreaking when Geena was diagnosed.

She said: “She was fine until about three and a half and then started to regress.”

Geena stopped being able to walk properly, barely spoke and became incontinent again. The teenager, who goes to Percy Hedley School, has a range of health issues, including being blind.

But, Sandra said her daughter, who has a short life expectancy, still loves life, including being with her brothers, Liam, six and nine-year-old Brandon.

To make a donation or sponsor the bus drivers, visit their JustGiving page HERE.