Cyclists to ride to South Shields and Sunderland's twin towns for autism society

A team of cyclists representing a leading charity founded in Sunderland are gearing up for an international tour in order to raise funds and spread the message of autism acceptance.

Now in its fourth year, the North East Autism Society’s (NEAS) annual sponsored cycle ride has previously taken dedicated cyclists all over the charity’s home region and beyond.

But now supporters are preparing for their toughest challenge yet: the Twin Town Tour Twenty Twenty Two Challenge.

Nicknamed the T6 Challenge, the route of the cycle tour will wind across Germany and the Netherlands, passing through a number of towns that are twinned with locations in North-East England where NEAS provides frontline services.

People are invited to join or sponsor the charity cycle challenge in aid of the Sunderland-founded North East Autism Society.

Kevin Meikle, fundraising manager for NEAS, said: “Our annual cycle rides have quickly become enormously popular among people in the communities we serve.

"They’re always great fun, and a brilliant option both for experienced cyclists and for people who are just starting out.

“After celebrating the 40th anniversary of the society last year and raising more than £6,000 with the cycle challenge, we really wanted to do something on an even bigger scale, but keep it connected to our roots in the North-East.

"The T6 Challenge was the perfect chance.”

Cyclists prepare for their European charity challenge.

The six-day challenge will start once the ferry from Newcastle delivers supporters to the port of Ijmuiden, in the Netherlands, on Thursday, August 25.

From there, the cyclists will visit Oberhausen, twinned with Middlesbrough, Mülheim an der Ruhr, twinned with Darlington, Essen, twinned with Sunderland; Wuppertal, twinned with South Tyneside, and Mönchengladbach, twinned with North Tyneside.

They will officially finish the 331-mile trek in Amsterdam for a well-earned rest on Sunday, August 28, before cycling the short distance back to Ijmuiden to catch the ferry home the next day.

The challenge is open to anyone who enjoys cycling, adventure, and helping good causes.

Participants are asked to raise £400 in sponsorship to support the raft of vital services which NEAS provides to families throughout the North-East.

The charity is also offering local businesses the opportunity to sponsor the team and display their branding on the bespoke jerseys riders will wear as they cross the continent.

For more information or to sign up, visit www.ne-as.org.uk/t6cycle, or contact fundraising officer Jon Appleton at [email protected]

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