The organisers of an epic 24 hour charity cycling challenge are hoping to break through the £2,000 mark with last minute donations.
The 195 mile route took in all 24 of Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service’s fire stations, leaving from Devizes at noon on Friday 24 July and returning back into Devizes shortly before midday on Saturday 25 July. Money raised by the cyclists through sponsorship and donations will be shared between the Fire Fighters Charity and the Epilepsy Society.
Organiser Mike Cleaver, an on-call firefighter in Devizes, was one of seven cyclists to complete the whole route. He said: “The weather was really against us for the first 12 hours, with almost non-stop rain. However, things brightened up on the Saturday morning and we were able to finish ahead of time, which was brilliant.”
He added: “We left Devizes with 18 riders – four rode with us as far as Trowbridge, and six rode as far as Salisbury. Sadly, one rider suffered an injury on the way to Amesbury and had to pull out, but we had three new riders join us on the Saturday morning and that meant we were able to do the last quarter of the route as a group of ten. With outriders from Moonrakers Motorcycle Club in Devizes, and a back-up team of volunteers from within the Fire Service, the seven of us who managed the whole thing were well supported from start to finish.”
The route went from Devizes to Melksham, Corsham, Bradford on Avon, Trowbridge, Westbury, Warminster, Mere, Tisbury, Wilton, Salisbury, Amesbury, Ludgershall, Pewsey, Marlborough, Ramsbury, Stratton, Swindon, Westlea, Cricklade, Royal Wootton Bassett, Malmesbury, Chippenham and Calne, before going back to Devizes.
At least £1,700 has already been raised, and Mike is hoping to achieve £2,000. He said: “The Fire Fighters Charity is important to everyone within the Fire & Rescue Service, and the Epilepsy Society is a charity very close to my heart, as my daughter was diagnosed with the condition late last year. We are so grateful to everyone who has supported us so far, and my thanks also go to everyone who took part in the challenge, either as a rider or supporter.”
The seven cyclists who completed the whole 195 miles were Devizes firefighters Mike Cleaver, Rick Lavens and Archie Webster; Trowbridge firefighter Steve Taylor; Ticki Toogood, Head of Learning & Development based at Wiltshire FRS’s Potterne HQ; Jason Nightingale, an instructor at the Service’s training & development centre in Devizes, who lives in Hullavington; and Dan Scott, Mike’s brother-in-law, who lives in Melksham.
On-line donations can still be made at www.virginmoneygiving.com/cyclewiltshire195