FIVE friends with a passion for cricket are saddling up for an epic 1,110 mile-cycling challenge to raise tens of thousands for two charities close to their hearts – The Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Cancer Research UK.
Cyclists Sam Gaiger, Jon Weeden, Steve Wells, Mark Colyer and Tim Richards are cycling over 1,000 miles in 11 days, visiting 18 county cricket grounds across England and Wales.
The ‘Potterne Spinners’ started their fundraiser this week in Taunton (Somerset County Cricket Club) before finishing at The Grove in Potterne, Wiltshire.
Mr Gaiger, a director of Gaiger Bros in Devizes, is the brainchild behind the challenge. His wife, Louise, 12-year-old son, Elliot, and daughter, Sophie, 10, all have cystic fibrosis – a life-limiting condition that affects the lungs and digestive system.
He said: “My family live with cystic fibrosis, so I know first-hand the challenges that CF brings and the daily hurdles they have to jump just to stay well. They show me the resilience people with CF have and don’t let anything stop them living a life without limits – it’s incredibly powerful and inspiring.
“COVID has had a huge impact on our lives and we wanted to help raise vital funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust who have provided support to families throughout the pandemic but, like many charities, have been financially impacted. To do this, I wanted a new challenge away from running so I started cycling on a static Peloton bike which led to getting a road bike. Since my family is my motivation for fundraising and we all love cricket, I wanted to combine it with cycling.
“We also want to raise money for Cancer Research UK as all five of us have family and friends whose lives have been sadly lost or changed due to cancer. This has become especially poignant with the death of our dear friend and fellow Potterne cricketer, Tony Poole, in November, at the age of 41. It has been a huge motivating factor through the cold and wet winter training conditions.”
Potterne Cricket Club has boosted the Spinners’ £45,000 target by almost £3,000 as part of the club’s wider fundraising initiatives during the lockdown. The club’s members and supporters are set to give the cyclists a huge welcome home on Saturday 5 September.
Kat Scaife, Cystic Fibrosis Trust Head of Corporate Partnerships, said:
“It’s fundraisers like these which are the lifeblood of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. COVID has taken a big toll on our finances so raising such an incredible amount of money will help us keep supporting people with cystic fibrosis through our helpline and financial grants.
“It also helps us to invest in cutting-edge research that leaves no-one behind and that works with some of the best and brightest scientists from around the world.”
The cyclists are aiming to raise £45k for the two charities. To donate or to find out more about their fundraiser that runs until September 5th, visit their Virgin Money Giving account by clicking here.