Sports stars turn out for charity ride

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Intrepid cyclists were joined by some famous faces on a two-day sponsored bike ride to raise money for a prostate cancer charity.

Former Bede School student Martyn Coombs, chairman of the Bedale branch of the Sunderland Supporters’ Association, and four members of Bedale FC in North Yorkshire, completed the two-day Football League London to Amsterdam sponsored bicycle ride last weekend.

The cyclists only began riding 10 weeks ago and, equipped with new cycles and all the gear, began their training programme on the country lanes around Bedale.

The ride was in memory of a friend of the football club, Steve Garbett, who died last year from prostate cancer after a 10-year battle.

They were joined on the ride by Preston North End manager and ex-Bedale High School pupil Simon Grayson, Steve’s son David Garbett and five of his friends from Leeds, making up a team of 12 called Team Garbett.

Simon was involved in a lot of fund-raising through his football contacts and he held a celebrity football game at the R&R Ice Cream Stadium at BASA in March.

The 146-mile course was supported by football league clubs and celebrities on the ride included ex-England centre half Terry Butcher and former players Matt Holland, David Hodgson, Paul Peschisolido and Luther Blissett, as well as cricketer Devon Malcolm.

Team Ipswich Town raised a massive £55k from 65 riders, closely followed by the 12 Team Garbett riders who, to date, have raised an incredible £40,025.83 plus an additional 25% in gift aid.

Team leader David Garbett, who received the orange jersey from the organisers for raising the most money by an individual of more than £4k, said: “This was a very emotional weekend for me but the support I received, especially from Simon Grayson and Preston North End and my close friends, was truly magnificent.

“My dad would be so proud of all our efforts and would be chuckling to himself looking down on how challenging we all found the ride.”

The event is expected to raise more than £320,000 for Prostate Cancer UK.

Supporters’ club chairman Martyn Coombs said: “Finishing at the Ajax Amsterdam football stadium, led by David Garbett to receive our medals, was so emotional and many a tear was shed at a job well done for such a very worthwhile charity.’