Seven Northumberland dads are set to take on a daunting cycling challenge next month to raise money for a new classroom at their children's First School.
The fathers of seven children at Stannington First School in Northumberland will be saddling up to ride the 200-mile Coast & Castles route between Newcastle and Edinburgh in just two days over the forthcoming May Day Bank Holiday weekend.
The school has been working towards raising £65,000 for a new classroom which will be used by both its pupils and other groups within the community, but is still short of its target, so the keen amateur cyclists have decided to do their bit to help.
Starting in Newcastle, the Coast & Castles route runs up the Northumberland coast from Tynemouth to Berwick before either staying on the Scottish coast up to Dunbar before heading across to Edinburgh or inland through Kelso and Melrose.
Local employer the Banks Group, for which one of the ride participants, Simon Byrne, works at the nearby Brenkley Lane surface mine, has made a £250 donation to get the fundraising effort going.
The team is now aiming to secure as much sponsorship as possible before the ride kicks off.
Byrne said: “The seven of us meet regularly for a drink, and we got talking one evening about how we could support the fundraising work that the school and PTA were doing.
“We’re all keen cyclists, and once the idea of taking on the Coast & Castles route was suggested, we all signed up straight away.
“It’s a long way to cover in just two days’ riding, and the prevailing winds can make it even tougher, but we’ll be going all out to get the job done in the time we have and raise as much as we can for the school in the process.”
Helen Stokoe, headteacher at Stannington First School, added: “Everyone at the school is very impressed by the enthusiasm, commitment and fitness of these parents who are prepared to give up their Bank Holiday weekend to raise money for our activity and community room.”
Banks has supported Stannington First School on a number of projects in the past, including the creation of a nature trail in the school grounds, and members of the school’s Green Team recently visited the company’s former Delhi surface mine to help plant the one millionth tree that Banks has planted as part of the landscaping work it carries out at its operational and restored surface mine sites,
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at Banks, said: “We’re very happy to be getting the team’s very admirable fundraising efforts on their way.”