A Barnoldswick man is preparing to take to the saddle for a 2,000km bike ride raising money for Breast Cancer Care.
Architect Ray Cryer (66), of Mosley Street, is riding for the charity after his wife Patricia died from cancer almost four years ago.
A keen cyclist since the age of nine and founder member of the Clarion Cycling Club in Barnoldswick, Ray took up Rugby Union while a pupil at Ermysteds Grammar School and later played for Wharfedale.
But a knee injury and a desire to stay fit in later life has seen him return to his first passion and Ray will join three gym-going friends Kevin Wharton, Kevin Owens and Christa Baldwin from Skipton on the ride.
Starting at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer on Wednesday, the quartet aim to finish at Airedale Hospital on Saturday, August 23rd, and are hoping to raise £20,000 to split between Breast Cancer Care, ABF Soldiers Charity, Rotary Foundation and Airedale NHS Foundation Trust.
During the 16-day challenge, the group will face 12 major Tour de France climbs which will see them ride the equivalent distance uphill that would take you from London to Cardiff.
As the oldest member of the team, Ray is a little daunted by the challenge which is the greatest physical and mental task he has ever undertaken, but he has the full support of daughters Amanda, Sally and Emily.
Ray said: “I lost my beautiful and courageous wife, Patricia, who succumbed to breast cancer almost four years ago.
“Having witnessed first hand the massive input and support given to Patricia and my family by the various cancer charity organisations, such as the local hospice nurses, Macmillan Cancer Support and our own local care organisation Bosom Friends, the decision to raise money for Breast Cancer Care was an easy one for me.
“We felt it had to be a real challenge. We have been getting in practice with a few sportive events of 85 miles or so and getting out in the evenings and weekends together as much as we can.
“I have done some riding in Belgium before but it was fairly flat. One of the riders has done Land’s End to John o’Groats but I don’t think anybody in the team has done this distance before.
“We are really looking forward to it but we are all a bit apprehensive of the mountains. We’ve got 11 Alps climbs and we’re going up Mont Ventoux as well.”
Visit the group’s website www.legrandvelo.info for more information and a link to donate.