THREE friends from St Helens are preparing to tackle the coast to coast challenge in aid of charities which have touched their lives.
Simon Howlett, 34, from Sutton, Andy Bloore, 35, from Windle, and Brendan Cassin, 38, from Blackbrook, are cycling 150 miles this weekend from Whitehaven in Cumbria to Sunderland.
The trip was Simon’s idea after his father passed away last year from the lung disease, pulmonary fibrosis.
He said: “I wanted to do something in memory of my dad who died way too soon at 57. I’m a keen cyclist, so it made sense to do a bike ride and the Coast to Coast ride seemed ideal.
“My goal is to raise money for the British Lung Foundation for my dad and Brendan and Andy jumped at the chance to help out, as they also had very personal reasons for wanting to raise money for charity.
“We’ve been training hard and have a small team of family and friends coming along to help us out on the ride, which without them would not be possible.”
Brendan is pedalling to raise money for the Special Care Baby Unit at Whiston Hospital where he was born in 1972, weighing two pounds and fitted in the palm of his dad’s hand. He’s put 222 pounds on since then!
Andy, meanwhile, is pedalling for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust in memory of his late grandfather who suffered from Multiple Sclerosis.
Brendan said: “When I was born at Whiston Hospital in 1972, premature babies’ life expectancy was very poor.
“No-one thought I would survive, arriving two months early and very underweight. A bag of sugar weighed more – so my dad keeps reminding me.
“Without the help of the staff at Whiston, I wouldn’t be here doing this ride. It’s my way of returning the kindness and care I received and I’m eternally grateful. It was lovely of Si to invite me and Andy along, to raise money in tandem with him, for his dad’s charity. I know Andy feels the same as I do and wants to help out the Multiple Sclerosis trust for his grandad.”
The lads start from Whitehaven on Friday morning, travelling through the Lake District, over the challenging terrain of the Pennines, before finishing the ride on Sunday evening in Sunderland, where their support team will have some cold beers waiting for them.
Sponsorship of the lads can be made via: http://www.btinternet.com/~sihowlett/c2c/bren/