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Pals tackle marathon bike ride for charity

CHEERS WE GO .... Tony Rathbone, left, with Billy Skipper from South Shields, with beer supplied by the Jarrow Brewing Company.

CHEERS WE GO .... Tony Rathbone, left, with Billy Skipper from South Shields, with beer supplied by the Jarrow Brewing Company.

A SOUTH Tyneside man and a veteran fundraiser are clocking up the miles in a marathon cycling challenge.

Bill Skipper, 54, of South Shields, and 81-year-old Tony Rathbone, from Cumbria, are about halfway through a fundraising ride from Lands End in Cornwall, to John O’Groats in the north east of Scotland.

The duo will cycle 950 miles and climb about 50,000ft in total, during their two-wheel, two-week challenge of a lifetime.

Mr Skipper, who is raising cash for St Clare’s Hospice at Jarrow, described his octogenarian cycling partner as “a bit of a character”.

He added: “His mindset is right. He’s really focused and he’s not concentrating on anything else at the moment.”

Yesterday, the duo cycled through the Lake District to Tony’s home in Keswick, before setting off towards Scotland.

So far, the charity duo have raised £700, but their ultimate aim is to raise £4,000, to be split between St Clare’s, Macmillan Cancer Support and the Friends of Mary Hewetson Cottage Hospital, in Keswick, Cumbria.

Mr Rathbone, a retired Cumbrian businessman, admitted he was “a bit apprehensive” about the challenge at first, but was attracted to “the distance, the challenge and seeing parts of England and Scotland I wouldn’t normally see”.

Although some people called him “mad” and “crazy” for attempting the charity ride, Mr Rathbone added: “I’m rather shy and don’t like asking for money, but I do think what these charities are doing is worthwhile, and should be supported.”

To support the cycling duo and their chosen charities, visit www.lejog.us.

Twitter @terrykelly16

 

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