Riders on the storm

Alan Sutheran and friend Richie Bland on Coast to Coast cycle Sept 2011 for Hartlepool and District Hospice.

Alan Sutheran and friend Richie Bland on Coast to Coast cycle Sept 2011 for Hartlepool and District Hospice.

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TWO saddle-sore friends raised hundreds of pounds for a town hospice after they cycled across the country and battled through gale force winds.

Alan Sutheran and pal Richie Bland, both from Seaton Carew, completed an arduous Coast to Coast charity cycle which saw them pedal against the strongest storms to hit northern England in years.

But the pair crossed the finishing line after cycling 165 miles in just three days.

So far, their efforts have raised around £800 for Hartlepool and District Hospice which looked after Alan’s mum Sheila Sutheran when she was ill.

Alan, 39, said: “It was tough in parts but I think the training we did helped and it was a worthwhile experience.

“We both felt a great sense of achievement when we finished.

“We battled gale force winds on the final day. It was really bad and quite scary.

“Quite a few casual cyclists who were doing it dropped out because of the bad weather.

“But I think because we were doing it for a cause and had something to aim for it kept us going and made us get up every morning.”

Alan, dad of three and a carer for the Hospital of God in Greatham, decided to raise money for the hospice where his mum Sheila was cared for.

She made several visits to the Wells Avenue hospice for respite care before losing a battle with Motor Neurone Disease three years ago aged 67.

Family friend Richie, 49, who works for a security door firm, volunteered to join him in the challenge.

It saw them cycle from Whitehaven in Cumbria to Hartlepool Marina where they were cheered across the finishing line by family and friends.

Alan and his brothers and sister have previously helped raise thousands of pounds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association including completing the Inca Trail trek in Peru.

People can still sponsor Alan and Richie through the website www.justgiving.com/alanandrichieC2C