Doddington chain gang are ‘wheel’ heroes

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A gruelling two-day, 250-mile bike ride inspired by a young cancer survivor raised a fantastic £8,000.

Eight friends cranked it up a gear in aid of Cancer Research UK when they battled rain and driving winds as part of a Norfolk coast challenge.

Matt Costall, Darren Barnett, Paul Drewery, Paul Blanchflower, Paul Corney, Martin Lambert, Wayne Drewery and Pete Goodman set off on their expedition from Doddington at 6am last Saturday.

The group, affectionately known as the Middle Aged Men in Lycra, cycled 123 miles to Yarmouth, where they stayed the night, before taking on the 127-mile return journey the following day.

A euphoric Mr Barnett led the group home to cheering friends and family, flanked by son Lee Barnett, who had joined the riders for the final ten miles of the cycle.

Twenty-two-year-old Doddington United player Lee was the inspiration behind the ride, having been diagnosed with testicular cancer last summer.

The cancer spread to his lungs but, after undergoing chemotherapy, he was given the all-clear. Mr Costall said it was originally going to be him and Mr Barnett doing the ride, but friends were keen to sign up, too.

He said having Lee join them for the last part of the ride gave them a “massive lift”.

“To see Darren and Lee side-by-side less than a year after Lee’s diagnosis was amazing.”

The team thanked all their sponsors and the friends, family and work colleagues who supported them en route.

“We’d also like to say a huge thank you to Neil Clarke and John Powell who drove the support vehicles,” added Mr Costall.

The group were helped by kit sponsors Alan Bartlett and Sons and Vital Recruitment, Greenwheels Cycles of Peterborough, who provided spares for the tyres, and Tero-Sports Ltd. Sports therapist Tara Haines and colleague Wendy McReady gave the exhausted eight much-needed massages.

Anyone who would like to donate to the group can visit their fundraising web page at: www.justgiving.com/matt-costall