Epic challenge for Hartlepool United footballer and his former teammate

Jack Baldwin (left) and Andy Rafferty on their coast to coast bike ride
Jack Baldwin (left) and Andy Rafferty on their coast to coast bike ride

CHARITABLE footballers are taking a well-earned rest after completing a mammoth coast to coast cycling challenge during their summer holidays.

Hartlepool United goalkeeper Andy Rafferty and former Pools defender Jack Baldwin, 20, who is now at Peterborough United, swapped their football boots for cycling shorts for the 120-mile ride from Whitehaven, in Cumbria, to Blackhall.

The gruelling challenge was all in aid of raising money for London-based Richard House Children’s Hospice.

Rafferty, 26, said it was a “relief” to finally finish the ride, given the steep climbs and windy conditions the pair had to endure on their way back to the North-East.

But it hasn’t put him off and he is already planning what he can do next summer on his bike to raise vital funds for charity.

It was the furthest the pair had ever cycled in one day but a determined Rafferty said: “It was all worthwhile in the end.

“We set off at about 7.30am and the weather was okay at that point so we were able to enjoy the first 20 miles.

“But then it started to deteriorate and the wind was really strong, making it difficult to cycle, especially up hill.

“The rain wasn’t too bad because that at least kept us cool but the wind was a real killer.”

Rafferty, a keen cyclist, said: “We’ve got around £800 raised at the moment which is a pretty good figure. We didn’t really have any targets so whatever people can donate to such a worthy cause will be brilliant.”

To sponsor visit www.justgiving.com/Baldwin-Rafferty