It was another record-breaking year for Cycle for Cynthia with almost 1,100 riders taking part in the annual event.
The ride, which has raised almost £200,000 for the Friends of Cynthia Spencer Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Support in the county since it began eight years ago and which saw nearly 900 cyclists take part last year, was officially opened by BBC Radio 2 presenter Jo Whiley on September 23 at Althorp.
The DJ fired the starting gun to set off the riders on their 50, 25 and five mile routes before getting in to the saddle to pedal the five miles with her husband Steve and 13-year-old son Jude.
She said: “I can’t believe what an amazing sight it was, to see all those riders stretching as far as the eye could see down the path in front of the house.
“It really was the most wonderful atmosphere with everyone keen to do their bit in support of these two fantastic charities.
“The whole family loved being here and we’ve already pledged to do 25 miles next year.”
Also taking part in the event was Saints coach Jim Mallinder, who rode the middle distance with his son Harry and fellow club staff members.
He said: “Being an avid cyclist myself, and with the Saints keen to support community events, it was a real privilege to be asked to get involved with the ride. How could I say no?
“It was also touching to hear the personal stories of why so many riders were taking part and so I’ll definitely be getting a few more pedalling in my black, green and gold team next year.”
Others who took part included the Newman family from Burton Latimer – Dionne and Dave and their children Kian, two, and nine-year-old Georgie.
Dionne said: “My step-mum’s dad was helped by both Macmillan and the hospice and we felt this would be a super way for the family to come together for a great day out as well as raise money for these two most deserving causes.”
Sue Bownass from the Friends group hailed this year’s event as a great success.
She said: “While the earlier finishers had the best of the weather, even the later riders’ spirit wasn’t dampened by the miserable conditions.
“In fact everyone was incredible, grinning as they crossed under the finishing arch.
“On behalf of the hospice and Macmillan, we want to say a massive thank you to all the riders and of course to the volunteers who marshalled, manned the pit stops or handed out the medals, without whom we wouldn’t have had such a remarkable day. “
While the number of riders who took part is a 20 per cent increase on last year’s figure, it will be some time before it’s known if the 2011 total of £47,000 has been beaten.
Riders are being encouraged to collect their sponsorship money as quickly as possible and send it to The Friends of Cynthia Hospice, Manfield Campus, Kettering Road, Northampton, NN3 6NP, making cheques payable to Cycle 4 Cynthia.
To pledge your support or sponsorship for next year visit www.cycle4cynthia.co.uk.