Fundraisers cycle from Blackpool Tower to Eiffel Tower in aid of Blackpool Carers Centre

Matthew Fife
Matthew Fife
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What’s 450 miles when it’s at home? Ask the 26 big hearted cyclists heading for Paris from Blackpool under pedal power.

By Jacqui Morley

Sharron Mulvaney

Sharron Mulvaney

Riders are champing at the bit to get to the start, at Blackpool Tower, on September 23, let alone the finish five days later, at the Champ de Mar and Eiffel Tower.

According to Chapeau Events, who ensure cyclists get safely to Paris, and bikes get safely back to Blackpool, the five day route takes riders through “glorious undulating countryside”.

Riders don’t have to be Tour de France standard but they must include hilly terrain in their training for a ride rated six out of eight in terms of difficulty.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the riders:

John Byrne (left) and John Thompson

John Byrne (left) and John Thompson

Blackpool Carers Centre’s marketing, events, engagement lead Julie Holland is a British Cycling Ride Leader and assists with Breeze Poulton (women’s cycling club) to encourage more to take up cycling.

She said: “I am lucky enough to work at Blackpool Carers Centre. If I can get one or two people to access our help and spread the word it will make those saddle sores worthwhile.”

Julie has smashed her £2,000 target and (at the last check) had raised £2,376, after a fundraising Beer and Bacon Music Festival in the grounds of the carers’ charity.

The dynamic duo of Tony and Deborah Terras were both selected in 2016 for Pentathlon GB Biathlon Masters and represented GB in European and World championships.

Debbie and Tony Terras

Debbie and Tony Terras

Deborah, director of The Washington Group, gave husband Tony 49 challenges in the run up to his 50th birthday.

“We have competed together in triathlons, marathons, running, open water swims and walking.

“This Tower to Tower is an adventure and we can’t wait to do it!”

They have held an anniversary beach party, have secured sponsorship of their kit and host a psychic night on June 18.

Joe Blockley

Joe Blockley

Joe Blockley, a 24-year-old biomedical science graduate, currently working in medical device sales across the North West, has set himself two epic challenges – the Tower to Tower bike ride and also climbing Kilimanjaro!

He said: “I want to be part of something making a difference to the quality of people’s lives and have a crack at something I’ve never done before.”

Funeral director John Byrne, 37, is new to cycling.

He is building up his stamina with 20-50 miles at a time to be cycle fit for the five-day 450-mile challenge in September.

The challenge is part of John and sister Angela’s 12-month programme of charity events to celebrate JT Byrne Funeral Directors’ 30 years in business on the Fylde coast.

Fellow team mate John Thompson is also putting in the mileage.

Julie Holland

Julie Holland

You could call fundraising a piece of cake for Sharron Mulvaney who sold slices of her Tower to Tower 50th birthday cake – themed by Iced of Garstang – to boost funds.

Leanne Haley-Holt is stepping up momentum with her sister and team mate Vicki Murgatroyd.

Leanne, 35, says it’s an opportunity “to achieve something outside of what I ordinarily do in life – even if I’m crazy scared inside.”

Matthew Fife has lost almost two stone training and is doing lots of boxing circuits, early morning session at Brian Rose Boxing and fitness gym, and “out on the bike”.

Howard Blain reveals: “When I started out on this epic challenge it scared me because when I start on September 23, 2019 I will be 69 and was not confident I could hit my target amount.

“Everyone has done me proud.”

Sian Howarth and Cara Smith are busy fund-raising ahead of the ride while Karen Smith is also stepping up the mileage and the fundraising.

Police officer Oliver Maughan got police cadets in a spin with a 24-hour cyclathon which raised £680, £428 from bag packing, and hosted afternoon tea on Mother’s Day at the charity’s Beaverbrooks House base.

He plans a murder mystery evening in tandem with another rider.

Omprakash Velagala bagged a massive £1k single donation, boosting his total to £1,392.

His training includes the Avenham Park Run.

Kash admits he will be pushing his body “to a point it has never been before, all for this amazing cause.”

Jodie Godwin likes to keep fit and is urging family, friends and colleagues to rally to raise much needed funds for Blackpool Carers Centre.

Claire Edwards rose to the challenge of helping a charity which offers support to “carers old and very young and to families who encounter difficulties and challenges that seem overwhelming – which was how I felt when I signed up to do the ride.”

Claire is training in earnest and running toy stalls to raise more money.

Judie Simmons-Jeffs and Tom Swire joined forces to take on the challenge.

They are putting in the mileage at weekends on their new bikes.

Other riders taking on the challenge include Barry Edwards, Janice Catterall and Maria Newton.

To donate, search the riders’ names at and check out for updates from the intrepid squad.

Leanne Haley-Holt

Leanne Haley-Holt