Fundraiser hopes to do Italian job

Abbie Thompson who is going to do an Italian Coast to Coast ride for Sunderland AFC Foundation of Light charity.
Abbie Thompson who is going to do an Italian Coast to Coast ride for Sunderland AFC Foundation of Light charity.

A super-fit cyclist is set to say arrivederci to Peterlee and ciao to Italy as she gets set for a charity bike ride.

Abbie Thompson will join a team of 40 other riders in the four-day Italian Challenge from June 4-8, which will raise funds for Sunderland AFC’s Foundation of Light charity.

The 20-year-old, who works at the Asda supermarket in Peterlee and lives in the town’s Oakerside area, will cover a 200-mile route from Italy’s Mediterranean coastline, through the Tuscan hills and Apennine mountains, to San Marino and the Adriatic coast. And it is not the first time Abbie, whose mum is Peterlee town councillor Mandy Thompson, has got in the saddle for charity.

When she was 17, she tackled the Whitehaven to Sunderland Coast to Coast for macular disease, which affects the sight and is suffered by a relative.

Last year she also rode 380 miles over five days from Dublin to Sunderland, via the ferry to Stranraer, also in aid of the foundation, which supports more than 42,000 young people in the North-East through sport and education-based programmes.

She says she has clocked up 100 miles in a day during a ride that took in Stanhope and Peterlee, but says that was “just for fun”. Former Shotton Hall school student Abbie, who has been busy washing cars to help raise the required £1,500 sponsor money, said: “I can’t wait, it will be great fun.”

Abbie, who is a member of the Sunderland Clarion cycling club and has done some training in Majorca, will be joined by former Black Cats star Marco Gabbiadini on the exhausting ride. To sponsor Abbie, visit www.justgiving.com/Abbie-Thompson1