A TEAM of football-loving cyber friends joined forces for a charity challenge in memory of a fellow Black Cats fan.
Thirty Sunderland AFC supporters, who use the Ready to Go internet forum, tackled the 131-mile Coast to Coast cycle route from Cumbria to Sunderland for charities of their choice.
The idea for the cycle ride came five years ago when forum member Graeme Kerton was diagnosed with a rare cancer.
He sadly lost his battle against the illness, but the group which rallied behind him to raise money for cancer charities, decided to make the bike challenge a yearly event in his honour.
Richard Aslett is one of the forum fans who took part in the trip as a driver in one of the two support vehicles.
Richard, 35, from Fulwell, said the Coast to Coast cycle route was a great chance for members of the forum and fellow Sunderland AFC supporters to come together for a social event.
“Everybody knows each other through the forum. I’ve only met about 10 of the people taking part so it’s nice that a group of people who have never met in the flesh came together to raise money for charity.”
The team cycled over three days, from the starting point in Whitehaven to Roker.
Martin Downey, another member of the team, raised £750, which was then doubled by his employer, for St Benedict’s Hospice, in Newcastle Road, Sunderland.
Martin, 47, lives in Surrey, but travelled back to his roots in Sunderland to take part in the cycle.
Martin, who works in IT, said: “Everyone picks a charity that they think is worthwhile.
“Generally, it’s a good time and we have a laugh. Everyone does it for enjoyment as well as the charity aspect.”
Martin, who has been a member of Ready to Go for 10 years, said he hadn’t met any of the other forum users until they did their first charity cycle five years ago.
“It’s a great thing for us to come together like this in memory of Graeme.”
To sponsor Martin visit his Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/Flavonoids