Updated – See bottom for latest news A team of cyclists, distressed by scenes of flooding in the UK this winter, have announced that they will be attempting a 200-mile ride to raise money for victims. The team, including Darlington clergyman the Revd Damon Bage, Vicar of the Anglican St Mary’s Church in Cockerton, Darlington, will tackle the Coast and Castles route from Newcastle to Edinburgh over four days starting on Thursday 8th May. Those also riding are Stewart Burton, a Reader from St Hilda’s Church, Hartlepool, Paul Thomas, who knew Damon when he worked at St Michael’s in Norton, Teesside, and Martin Read, a friend who lives in London, where he works for the BBC, and who comes from Hartlepool. Back-up will be provided by their friend Terry Hegarty. Damon, who began cycling in 2011 to lose weight, said: “A team of us did the Coast to Coast ride in 2012 and raised £4,500 for the Butterwick Children’s Hospice on Teesside. “This time, we discussed all sorts of charities then we heard about the appeal to raise money to help those who have been affected by the terrible flooding in the UK. Church Urban Fund has set up Flood Appeal and any funds raised will go directly to that. “Many people and communities are suffering and many churches are working tirelessly to provide practical help and resources to those whose lives have been devastated. “The money we raise will go to help churches as they support communities recover from the impact of the floods. “It‘s a 200-mile ride but we have been training for it and hope to complete it within four days.“ This is the third ride they have done and Stewart said: “We’ve raised money for our own charities in the past but thought it would be good if we all raised a substantial amount of money for the same cause this this time. While the floodwater may be gone, it takes a long time to rebuild lives and homes.” The money raised by the ride will be donated to the Church Urban Fund Flood Appeal, which is raising funds to support work by local churches and Christians to improve the lives of those affected by the floods. Church Urban Fund Chairman, Paul Hackwood said: “We are delighted to hear Damon and his team have chosen to support our flood appeal. Already we have funded a number of projects to provide emergency food supplies, financial support and temporary accommodation for those affected. “This year we are continuing to fund local projects across the country by allocating £1million in small grants for Christians and churches who are acting to tackle poverty.” You can support their fundraising effort at http://www.justgiving.com/coastandcastles14 Find out more about Church Urban Fund here www.cuf.org.uk
The Team set off from the middle of the gateshead millennium bridge at 11am on thursday 8th May 2014 as set of pictures from the start are below. [AFG_gallery id=’31’]
Day 1 and 2 Report and pictures
From Fr Damon: Day 1 started with us travelling to Gateshead for our Grand Depart! After a photo call with Keith Blundy at the Millenium Bridge we set off on our first day towards Alnwick. We had to really push ourselves with setting off later than expected but we still tried to take in the wonderful coastline as we travelled. We also passed Warkworth Castle on the first day too. We eventually got to Alnwick YHA at about 6.30. Today has been a different challenge altogether. Headwinds all the way from Alnwick to Berwick meant it was a tough days riding. That and the kamikaze flies! We also had a brief time riding on the A1 which was interesting to say the least. As well as the coastline we also passed several castles on the route…these were Alnwick Castle at the start of the day followed by Dunstanbrough Castle, Bamburgh Castle & Lindisfarne Castle.