A 350-mile journey and £30K fundraising target awaits St Albans’ cycle challenge heroes

Team FORGE Isle of Wight Cycle Challenge

Team FORGE Isle of Wight Cycle Challenge - Credit: Archant

A determined team of local cyclists will be forging ahead with a mammoth 350-mile marathon in aid of Rennie Grove Hospice.

Team FORGE (Friends of Rennie Grove Enthusiasts) will be embarking on the inaugural Isle of Wight Cycle Challenge between September 17-20, with the aim of raising £30,000 to mark Rennie Grove’s 30th anniversary.

Many team members and support crew have had friends and family helped by the charity, which exists to give local patients with life-limiting illnesses a choice about how and where they receive care towards the end of their life.

Captained by Rennie Grove patron and former FIFA referee Graham Poll, Team FORGE is made up of senior local business people from St Albans and Bucks, all with a variety of cycling experiences.

One recent converter to the bike is Rennie Grove’s corporate partnership manager, Colin Ivey, who said this week: “For someone who hasn’t ridden a bike in 40 years I am feeling the pain, but I’m delighted to have had such a positive response to this idea, with so many local businesses getting onboard.”

Steve Walker, owner and managing director of St Albans estate agents Collinson Hall, himself faced life-changing inquiries after dramatically injuring his back in February while riding his bike.

He said: “I try to cycle all year round but I had an accident this winter where I fractured several vertebrae’s so had to have an enforced break for three months while the titanium implants and bone-grafts settled. I’ve cycled since I was a child but I only made the transition from mountain bike to road bike relatively recently.”

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Paralympian David Clark, head of Clydesdale Bank in St Albans, will be taking part on a tandem with friend and neighbour Andrew Keenleyside, a member of the England Masters Hockey team that won the World Cup in Singapore in 2011.

David said the circumstances of those needing care at Rennie Grove will be his driving force to ensure they raise as much money as possible to support the continuation of these essential care services.

Some of the other team members include Mark Bunting, area director of Aitchison Raffety, Lawrence Levy, joint-owner of St. Albans City FC and lifetime vice-president of the charity, Paul Rosenthal from Amthal Fire and Security, Alasdair McMillin, the managing partner of Sherrards Solicitors, and Andrew Williamson, from St Albans-based WMT Chartered Accountants.

Team FORGE will be cycling between 75 and 90 miles each day for the duration of the four day challenge, on a route which takes all the way through the Isle of Wight, through the Cotswolds into Swindon and finally ending up in St Michael’s Manor in St Albans on day four.

To sponsor the team visit www.justgiving.com/forgecycle/ or follow their ups and downs at www.facebook.com/FORGEcycle and @renniegrovecorp.