Pedal power raises thousands for Sunderland AFC's Foundation of Light
A team of saddlesore fund-raisers have given Sunderland AFC’s charity a £30,000 boost.
Thirty-eight cyclists took four days to cover the 280 miles from Geneva in Switzerland to Mulhouse in Eastern France for the Foundation of Light.
The last leg of this year’s Cycle Challenge was from the beautiful lakeside town of Gerardmer to Mulhouse, a distance of 60 miles, and a 4,100ft climb.
SAFC legend Marco Gabbiadini, who completed the route with daughter Evie, was one of the cyclists: “It has been a great experience - a beautiful, challenging and exciting route, great fellowship among the riders and, always, terrifically well organised from start to finish,” he said.
“Parts of our route this year involved cycling portions of the Tour de France so it was never going to be easy. But all of the riders are committed to raising funds for a wonderful, life-changing charity and we were all delighted to hear how much money had been raised.”
It is the eighth annual challenge, all of which have been sponsored by Grafton’s, a UK and Ireland-based builders’ merchants business.
FA Cup hero Ritchie Pitt was part of the ride support team, stepping in to help out at only a few days’ notice.
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“I’ve done some work in the past with the Foundation and know about the important work they do in local communities, so was only too pleased to help,” he said.
Jemma Dowson, Head of Events at the Foundation, said: “I’d like to thank all of this year’s riders and their generous sponsors for helping to raise so much.
“The Cycle Challenge has become one of our most important fundraisers and we’re very grateful to everyone involved, especially Grafton’s and our Foundation support team who work so hard behind the scenes to make the challenge as smooth as possible for the cyclists.
“We’re already thinking about routes for next year and it was lovely to hear so many of this year’s cyclists wanting to be signed up for 2020.”
Established in 2001, Foundation uses the power of football to involve, educate and inspire people of all ages and from all backgrounds.