Northamptonshire friends take on London-Paris cycle challenge to support Motor Neurone Disease Association

'We would like to use the spare time we have to give something back to those that are less fortunate than ourselves'

Two friends from Northamptonshire hope to raise at least £3,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) by cycling from London to Paris.

Keen cyclists Sam Joyce and Dean Montgomery felt compelled to take on a challenge by the recent charitable efforts of Leeds Rhinos legend Kevin Sinfield

Sam, 25, from Woodford, wanted to do it for the Northampton-based charity as his uncle died of the condition in 2008 and its website recommended the four-day, 309-mile feat from September 8-12.

Southampton Football Club fans Sam Joyce (left) and Dean Montgomery

The mates, who met more than a decade ago while at Prince William School in Oundle, have raised nearly £800 so far but have to reach at £3,000 to enter.

Sam said: "It's a difficult time for everyone so we're asking people if they can to donate but I think the challenge company has set a deadline for the end of June for the minimum amount.

"We've had a really good start, we've been really fortunate so far so we're doing all we can to push it."

While going to the same school, Sam and Dean, 24, from Thrapston, became good friends while working at The Duke's Arms in Woodford aged 15.

They both love cycling but had never taken on a big challenge before and the fundraising seen during the pandemic inspired them to take the plunge.

Sam said: "We would like to use the spare time we have to give something back to those that are less fortunate than ourselves.

"As I'm sure is the case with many people, we have both found that we've had a lot of spare time on our hands over the last year or so, and through this difficult period for everyone we want to use the time we have to do something positive."

The pair will be taking part in Global Adventure Challenges' London-Paris bike ride, which organises the route, accommodation and food for a £3,280 minimum sponsorship.

They will soon start training with longer rides around the county and further when the lockdown restrictions ease as well as fundraising as much as possible.

Mr Sinfield raised millions of pounds for the MNDA by running seven marathons in seven days in December in honour of his former teammate Rob Burrow.

Sam said it only took a matter of months for his uncle, Robin Edwards, to die of the uncommon, incurable condition and is passionate about raising its awareness.

"He was healthy and it came from nowhere really and within I think six to eight months it took his life," he said.

"It is something we feel strongly about to raise awareness about the disease and support the charity."