Why over 100 cyclists will be riding to each of the big North East football grounds this weekend

More than 100 riders are due to saddle up in the name of charity this weekend by cycling to all of the region’s major football grounds including Hartlepool’s.

Saturday, 31st August 2019, 8:00 am
Riders on the 2018 event at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium.

The Great North Air Ambulance North East Football Ground Ride takes place on Sunday and is organised by Marc Hall from Billingham and friend Graham Purnell.

Up to 150 participants are set to cycle 75 miles in one day beginning at Darlington FC’s Blackwell Meadows‎ and ending at St James’s Park in Newcastle.

All ages have signed up from 12 to one person in their 70s.

The ride will start from Darlington FC's Blackwell Meadows.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Along the route, they will also visit Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium, Victoria Park in Hartlepool and the Stadium of Light in Sunderland.

It is the second year that Marc and Graham have organised the event.

But this year is set to be much bigger compared to last year when around 25 riders took part in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund.

Marc, 40, who previously served in the RAF as a ground support electrician, said: “The first year was to see how it went and it took off.

Riders in their special event jerseys.

“Anyone that took part last year voted for which charity we should do it for this year and everyone voted for the air ambulance.

“The plan is to do it every year for a North East charity so that it will benefit the area.

“We are at £780 already and are looking to raise more.

“Unfortunately, I’m not cycling this year so will be concentrating on looking after everyone and making sure the day is a success because we want next year to be even better.”

The route will largely follow the coast taking in the scenery passing through Seaham, Sunderland, Roker and across and into Newcastle city centre.

Doornbos Ltd are the event’s main sponsors. Marc also thanked the following supporters including Chris Griffin of CAG Management of Darlington, Ryan Llewelyn of The Copperbeach pub Darlington, event photographer Andrew Gill, Neil Howland of Droneworks North East , support vehicle volunteer Micky Cowen, David Portass, Luke Brotherton, and Graham’s wife Amber Purnell for designing the event’s jerseys, and all members of the support team.