A mammoth cycling adventure has seen two cyclists raise more than £22,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Sharon Hartley, 41, and Ann Boardman, 43, both from Catterall, battled through months of training as well as tears and some laughter to complete the 234 mile bike ride from London to Paris.
The pair confessed that before this they hadn’t even cycled to the nearest pub but embarked on the formidable challenge after Jenny Jost, wife of Sharon’s colleague Dave, was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away in April – five months after being diagnosed.
“She went from being an all-action mum, always busy with both work and friends, to sadly passing away,” said Sharon, who works at the family’s building and joinery company Parkinson and Hartley.
“It really hit home for us and we wanted to do as much as we could to support Macmillan as it was them who supported Jenny with the cancer.”
It was then Sharon and Ann, an office manager at Wyrebank, decided to embark on the challenge organised by Charity and Challenge.
“It really was ridiculous!” Sharon said. “I think because we hadn’t cycled before some of the sponsors were sympathy sponsors but we can’t thank everyone enough. We were just two muppets who decided to go for it and hammered social media with an army of friends and family.”
The intrepid duo began training in February and Sharon admitted it was “a comedy of errors”.
“We ended up on the motorway, down ditches, being lost in the countryside, it really was horrendous.” Sharon joked. “Going out every night just to cycle was definitely the hard bit, the actual ride in comparison was easy!”
Starting at Twickenham, London, they cycled 80 miles to Portsmouth before getting the ferry to Caen in France.
Day two saw them make the 90 mile journey to across France’s countryside before finally riding the remaining 64 miles on day three into Paris finishing at the Eiffel Tower.
Sharon said: “Paris was brilliant and knowing we were going there kept our legs going on the final day.
“I had to have a Thai massage to sort my legs out!”
After being tourists in Paris for an extra four days, the pair made their way back home.
Sharon said: “The experience and the support to raise £22,205.60 has been beyond incredible.”