Cycling in memory of ‘Fast Hitch’

David Hitchen from St Helens, who died following a collision while out cycling
David Hitchen from St Helens, who died following a collision while out cycling
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A group of friends are getting back into the saddle for the toughest challenge of their lives in memory of a St Helens man who died in a road traffic collision.

Former Great Britain cyclist Dave Hitchen was killed aged 42 while acting as a steward at the Bolton Bash cycling sportive.

Now eight pals of Dave are planning tackling the gruelling one-day cycling event, The Saddleback Fred Whitton Challenge.

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Dave, who hailed from Haresfinch but also spent time in Billinge, was described a “genuinely funny guy and a wonderful father and family man”.

He died in 2014.

All funds raised will go to the North West Air Ambulance service.

Riders will endure 112 miles starting at Grasmere before taking in climbs of Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott & Wrynose passes.

The notorious Hardknott pass includes a 30 per cent gradient and greets riders at 98 miles. The total climb for the event is a few feet shy of thirteen thousand feet.

Their challenge however, begins earlier, as the group are planning a series of spinathons to encourage others to get on their bikes.

The first event will be on the evening of Tuesday, January 30 at Queens Park Health and Fitness, St Helens.

Graeme Cox, one of the challenge organisers, said: “I’ve taken part in several challenges over the last few years, but this is going to be the toughest yet.

“I’m really hoping we can do Dave’s memory proud and reach our target of £2000 to say thank you to North West Air Ambulance.”

Linda De Sa, of the air ambulance service, said: “We are grateful that this challenge will raise generous funds for our rapid response health care service.

“We will be cheering the group on throughout the weeks and months of the challenge and wish them all the best of luck.”

To find out more and to take part in the charity events email Darren McWalters at darren_mcwalters@hotmail.com

To donate www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mark-jenkins20