2:20pm Tuesday 1st October 2013
By Gina Bebbington
MORE than 70 cyclists raised hundreds of pounds with a bike ride through the Cheshire countryside in the sunshine on Sunday.
Weaver Valley Cycling Club’s (WVCC) fifth annual Guide Dogs for the Blind Run saw an enormous increase in numbers from the already impressive 40 that took part last year.
Sunday’s event also included a Breeze ride for women and children and a mixed Sky Ride buddy ride, which meant cyclists of all abilities could enjoy the day.
Alan Silver, WVCC’s runs captain, organised the event, which saw riders pedalling between 35 and 45 miles from Hartford Social Club to Cheshire Farm Ice Cream, in Tattenhall.
More than £900 was raised for Guide Dogs for the Blind thanks to donations from all cyclists, who were rewarded with a free lunch from the ice cream farm for their charitable giving.
Alan said: “It was absolutely fantastic.
“I kept going round counting heads and at first I thought there were 56, then I thought ‘no, there’s more than 56’, there were around 75.
“We split into three groups just from club riders for the ride, and a couple of Sky Ride cyclists came with us and really enjoyed it.
“You would be surprised how many people said they were going to download a membership form and join the club now.”
He added: “I want to say thanks to everyone really for turning out and making the day a really good day.”
WVCC gave out prizes for hill climb and sprint sections, both won by WVCC rider Kris Zentek, and young rider of the day, won by 12-year-old Breeze rider Katie Booth.
Claire O’Brien, who led the Breeze ride, said: “The weather was lovely and sunny, and the views of the Cheshire countryside as we pedalled past Winsford spire and the Mill Pool at Little Budworth, then later Peckforton and Beeston Castles made for a magnificent backdrop.
“I was particularly happy to see Georgia, 13, and Katie, 12, enjoy their day of cycling so much.
“Katie was the prize winner for the best young cyclist, and they both pedalled well throughout the day.”
Representatives and dogs from Guide Dogs for the Blind welcomed hungry riders to the ice cream farm, including Jean Fairfield, chairman of the mid Cheshire branch of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, and her dogs Phoenix and Kerry.
Jean, one of Alan’s neighbours, inspired WVCC’s annual charity run when she saw him out on his bike in the distinctive blue and yellow club kit and asked if there was anything the club could do to fundraise.
She said: “I just want to thank everyone for coming – we really appreciate what the club does for us.
“What it means to me is that more people care about blind people than you realise.
“I was black blind for six months and I’ve had six operations to get a small minority of sight back.
“I can’t thank all these cyclists enough.
“I’ve been running the fundraising branch for five years and every year this event has got bigger and bigger.
“Thanks to Alan who puts such a lot of effort into it and his wife Carol who collects all the money on the day and the staff at Cheshire Farm Ice Cream for donating lunches.”
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