Club’s cy­cling he­roes earn 100,000 hoorays

Rossendale Free Press - - News - STE­FAN JAJECZNYK ste­fan.jajecznyk@reach­ @sja­jecznykMEN

AGROUP of cy­clists have amassed more than £100,000 for a spe­cial needs swim­ming club - af­ter reach­ing a decade’s worth of fundrais­ing.

Over the past ten years the team of friends, all from Rossendale, have rid­den more than 2,000 miles, and climbed 100,000ft, tak­ing on a dif­fer­ent chal­lenge ev­ery year to raise money for Rossendale Rays swim­ming club.

This year the 16-strong team rode 116 miles along the Pen­nine Way, start­ing out at Kirkby Stephen and fin­ish­ing in Rawten­stall four days later.

Paul Mul­der­rig, who has been in­volved in the run­ning of the club with his wife Clare since it was founded in 2006, said ‘fan- tas­tic’ sup­port down the years has seen them smash through the £100,000 bar­rier. He said: “The bike ride is Rossendale Rays’ big­gest source of in­come. It keeps us go­ing year by year so we don’t have to worry about the club con­tin­u­ing.

“The ma­jor­ity of funds come from very gen­er­ous lo­cal and as­so­ci­ated com­pa­nies that we work with and lo­cal in­di­vid­u­als, who have been fan­tas­tic sup­port­ers over the years.

“We have mem­bers of all ages and abil­i­ties who ben­e­fit from be­ing able to learn to swim in a fully in­clu­sive en­vi­ron­ment.”

Paul ex­plained that the idea came about be­cause he is a keen moun­tain biker.

He said: “It com­bines a hobby with an ex­cel­lent way of rais­ing money.

“Find­ing dif­fer­ent routes each year is be­com­ing harder, plus the cy­clists are get­ting older – our av­er­age age is 50 plus.”

Rossendale Rays is based at Marl Pits in Rawten­stall.

The club is, for many spe­cial needs fam­i­lies, the only place they can so­cialise and has a per­sonal im­por­tance to Paul, as his son Cas­par is a mem­ber.

Paul said: “Our rid­ers this year are made up of 16 friends, four of whom are busi­ness col­leagues and two par­ents of Rossendale Rays’ mem­bers. This year our rid­ers wanted a route that fin­ished back in Rossendale so they de­cided on the Pen­nine Way. Each year we have man­aged to raise around £10,000.”

The club meets ev­ery Sun­day from 3.30pm to 5.30pm pro­vid­ing in­clu­sive swim­ming for more than 500 peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties and spe­cial needs and their fam­ily mem­bers to en­joy to­gether. Do­na­tions and spon­sor­ship are still be­ing taken. To con­trib­ute, search just­giv­ for ‘Rossy Rays bike ride 2018’ or ‘Rossendale Rays’ on Face­book.

The 2018 team Back Row, from left: Damian Robert­son, Eric Howard, Ge­off Se­nior, Liam Spencer, Anil Joshi, John Wadding­ton. Mid­dle: Wayne Ha­worth, Heather Spencer, Ady Philips, Aaron Lord. Front: Steve Wright (with bike), Oliver Martin, Mart Ward, Paul Mul­der­rig, Lee Ker­shaw and Graham Mar­shall

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