PICTURES: Hit the Downs MTB

Setting off from Windlesham House School for the second Hit the Downs MTB p3902J9aFyV5ZRiXGskw
Setting off from Windlesham House School for the second Hit the Downs MTB p3902J9aFyV5ZRiXGskw

More than 400 cyclists to the hills for this year’s Hit the Downs MTB.

Riders had the choice of two routes, 30km and 60km, all to raise money for St Barnabas House hospice in Worthing and Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice near Arundel.

Kev Mason completed the 60km route to raise money for Chestnut Tree House in memory of his daughter, Poppy

Kev Mason completed the 60km route to raise money for Chestnut Tree House in memory of his daughter, Poppy

The challenge, which started and ended at Windlesham House School on Sunday, May 6, is expected to raise around £23,000 for St Barnabas and £36,000 for Chestnut Tree House.

As well as individuals and families, there were cycling clubs and corporate teams taking part.

The first cyclists set off at 7.20am and started arriving back mid-morning, with the final batch passing the finish line just before 5pm.

Describing the route as ‘tough’, Kev Mason completed the 60km route to raise money for Chestnut Tree House in memory of his daughter, Poppy.

Buddington Bottom Bikers, Nick Laudram, Steve Bosley, Kelvin Fry and Jon Funnell

Buddington Bottom Bikers, Nick Laudram, Steve Bosley, Kelvin Fry and Jon Funnell

Kev has raised more than £700, far exceeding his original £100 target.

He said: “Chestnut Tree House supported my wife and I in July 2017 when we lost our daughter.

“Our world imploded and Chestnut Tree House were there for us, they supported us. They helped us get our lives back on track.

“The grief doesn’t go away but we’re in a better place. We’re really grateful for the support we received and they’ve helped us a lot.”

Riders had the choice of two routes, 30km and 60km

Riders had the choice of two routes, 30km and 60km

The Buddington Bottom Bikers saw Nick Laudram, director at Eurotiles and Bathrooms in Twickenham, riding with Steve Bosley, Kelvin Fry and Jon Funnell in a team of four. Between them, they have raised more than £2,000 for St Barnabas House.

Nick said he chose to ride for the hospice because his father-in-law, Ray Oakley, was looked after there a few years ago.

“The care he received was amazing,” he added.

“We’ve all got connections to the hospice over many years and it’s a great thing to raise some money for. You realise, all this money that’s raised, they need every penny.”

Lisa Beck, 46, a forensic scientist from Redhill, was one of the first riders to complete the 60km route.

Lisa is training for a 700km, seven-day ride through the Pyrenees later this year.

Lucy Brady, events fundraiser for the hospices, said: “We introduced Hit the Downs MTB to our events calendar last year and it was really successful, so we were delighted to be able to repeat it in 2018. It was great to get so much positive feedback on the day and all the participants and supporters seemed to really enjoy it.

“Both St Barnabas and Chestnut Tree House rely heavily on the support of the local community so that they can continue to provide all their specialist care services, so events like this really are invaluable. We’re hoping to raise around £60,000 in total.”