5 December 2011
Riders gathered to see Countess Spencer speak before she opened the race
Nearly 900 riders have pedalled a total of almost 30,000 miles around the county to make this year’s Cycle 4 Cynthia the biggest and best yet.
The event, which raises money for two charities, The Friends of Cynthia Spencer Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Support in the county, was staged for the first time in its eight year history at Althorp and was opened by Karen, Countess Spencer who was performing her first official UK duty since marrying the Earl Spencer in June.
Addressing the assembled throng of riders at the West Gate to the Estate Karen said: "It’s super to be able to host you at our wonderful home," she told the cyclists. "And if I may speak on behalf these two charities, thank you so much for lending your support."
Riders chose from distances of five, 25 and 50 miles, all of which set off through the park. The youngest participant was an aptly-named, eight-month-old Madeleine McMillan, who hitched a ride, along with her sister Jasmine aged 10, aboard dad Alastair’s three-seater. Not to be outdone, Mum Bernadette shared her tandem with their five-year-old son Euan, while their third daughter Heidi, aged 13, went solo. "We live in Spinney Hill," said Alastair, "so this is a great way to have a super family day out and help the hospice on our doorstep."
Bernadette Halton, Macmillan’s Area Fundraising Manager for Northamptonshire, paid tribute to the many hundreds of riders who turned out to make it such a success. "We can’t really say a big enough thank you to those who’ve leapt into their saddles and joined us, and thanks to the good weather, we’ve had almost 100 riders turn up on the day, which is great. And I must also say thanks to all the companies who’ve sponsored us so generously and to all our volunteers who made this such an amazing day – we couldn’t have done it without them!"
While the number of riders taking part is a 10% increase on last year’s 800, it will be some time before it’s known if the 2010 total of £40,000 has been bettered. Riders are kindly encouraged to collect their sponsorship money as quickly as possible and deliver or send it to The Friends of Cynthia Hospice, Manfield Campus, Kettering Road, Northampton NN3 6NP, making cheques payable to ‘Cycle 4 Cynthia’.
To see more pictures of the ride at Althorp, or to pledge your support for next year, please visit www.cycle4cynthia.com