Bikers embark on charity challenge

A TEAM of cycling enthusiasts have set off on a mammoth charity challenge which will see them cycle almost 250 miles across two countries in five days.

Labour councillors Jonathan Brash, Pamela Hargreaves and Peter Jackson are cycling from York to Amsterdam in a bid to raise hundreds of pounds for the Hartlepool Families First charity.

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Peter’s wife, Jill, makes up the four-strong team for the epic “Amsterslam” biking adventure which they hope to have completed by Tuesday.

Organisers say it is a test of endurance, fitness and “stupidity”.

Hartlepool Families First, which is based in Greatham Street, is a registered charity that works with children with disabilities in town.

It offers a range of projects including a PlayBus, HealthBus, an arts project and after school project.

Coun Hargreaves, a keen cyclist and chairman of the organisation, said: “Hartlepool Families First is a charity close to all of our hearts so we are delighted to be taking part in this sponsored bike ride to raise as much money as possible for such a worthwhile cause.

“We are hoping to raise in the region of £1,500 for the charity,” added Coun Hargreaves, who represents the Owton ward.

The kind-hearted fundraisers started their journey in York yesterday and from there they cycled the 40 miles to Hull where they then caught the overnight ferry to Rotterdam.

From there the group was hoping to hit the ground peddling this morning as they cycle the 68 miles to Amsterdam. The team is then due to stop over in the city of Amsterdam for a well deserved rest for two nights in a hostel, before jumping back on their bikes and cycling all the way back again to York.

Coun Brash, 30, who represents the Burn Valley ward, said: “I’ve really been looking forward to the Amsterslam challenge because it is an opportunity to raise money for a charity that is so vital to families in Hartlepool. 

“It is certainly well worth all the effort.” Coun Jackson, 51, who represents the Throston ward, added: “The journey isn’t going to be easy, but we are going to push ourselves to the limits and support each other until we reach that finish line.”

The project engineer is married to Jill, 49, a risk manager for the NHS and the pair live in the Throston area.

Paul Thompson, manager of Hartlepool Families First, said: “This dedicated team are really going to push themselves to the max for five seriously tough days. Cycling 250 miles is a fantastic effort and we very much appreciate what they are doing to help our charity and wish them well on their trip.”

The group drove down to York and they have a support car on hand during the challenge.