Bike ride for cause

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INSTEAD of having a party one group of teenagers decided to celebrate a friend’s 24th birthday by completing a gruelling coast-to- coast cycle challenge for charity.

James Leighton-Cox, from Hartlepool, celebrated turning 24 by taking part in the coast to coast bike ride from St Bees, in Cumbria, to Robin Hood’s Bay with five other friends and helped to raise vital funds for Teenage Cancer Trust UK along the way.

The riders at the start

The riders at the start

The group hope to be able to raise around £1,000 in sponsorship money from their efforts.

James, who is currently studying biological science at Teesside University, thought it would be a novel way to celebrate his birthday and he was joined by pals Tom Whittaker, 21, Daniel Thomas, 21, Bradley Thomas, 18, James’s 17-year-old step-brother David Brown, and James Relton.

It took the group four days to complete the 200-mile challenge and the money is still being counted before it is presented to Teenage Cancer Trust UK.

James said: “To celebrate my 24th birthday I thought this would be a little different.

“One of the other lads had mentioned doing it and we thought it would be a great idea and help to raise some money along the way.

“I managed 160-miles but unfortunately had to pull out on the last day because I had really hurt my knee but everyone else managed to complete it.

“It was a great challenge and we all enjoyed it, I’m really pleased that we did it.”

James added: “Across the four days we rode through three National Parks and just under 200 miles.

“We did this to support Teenage Cancer Trust UK and we would be really grateful for any donations that are made.”

James, who is due to start his second year at University, said on the first and last day of the challenge they faced heavy rain but the weather was kind to them in between.

The group camped all the way as part of the challenge and James’s dad, Chris Cox helped set up the camp along the way and made sure they were all okay.

Every day in the UK, six teenagers are diagnosed with cancer and the Teenage Cancer Trust aims to support those teenagers with the disease by providing specialist care and support.

People can sponsor the group by visiting www.justgiving.com/dnlsthmsc2c