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Hundreds get on their bikes for charity ride

More than 400 cyclists took part in TV presenter Davina McCall’s Big Sussex Bike Ride on Sunday (16 June), sponsored by Benenden Hospital.

The 68, 40 or 21-mile ride started and finished at the East Sussex National golf club, hotel and spa near Uckfield and has raised more than £300,000 for national children’s charity Action Medical Research since its launch eight years ago.

Benenden Hospital catering team Mandy Crane, Annabel Turner, Melissa Sellen and Carla Roome were among the riders who took part including TV presenter Davina, runner Sally Gunnell and 80s singer Martin Fry.

Speaking afterwards, Davina said: “Wow, what a turnout! I’m so pleased to see this event just continue to grow and grow.

“It’s an honour to meet and chat with so many people who enjoy getting out on their bikes and helping to raise vital funds for Action. I’m already excited for next year!”

Fellow Action supporter Martin Fry, who had a hit with Poison Arrow, said: “A few years ago, I rode Action’s Castle Ride in Kent so I knew it was going to be a fun event.

“I think it’s a fantastic charity, passionate about helping to find answers to the causes of so many conditions that affect babies and young children. I’ll always do what I can to show my support.”

Former Olympian Sally Gunnell added: “It’s just fantastic to see so many people come out and do their bit for such a worthy cause.”

Action Medical Research is a Sussex-based charity which funds desperately needed research to tackle the diseases that devastate the lives of so many of our children.

It has been funding medical breakthroughs since it began in 1952 including helping to introduce the first polio vaccines in the UK, developing the use of ultrasound in pregnancy and testing the rubella vaccine.

Community Fundraising Manager Paula Ray said: “It was a fabulous atmosphere, despite the wet conditions, but we honestly couldn’t have done it without our sponsors Benenden Hospital, our small army of dedicated volunteers and event marshalls and of course Davina.

“This annual event means a lot to the charity and it’s very rewarding to see so many smiling faces cross the finishing line. We’ll look forward to seeing everyone again next summer!”

Published on 19 June 2019