City cyclists clock up 10,000 miles to raise cash for the homeless

Brighton and Hove Mayor Cllr Dee Simson and Brighton Housing Trust chief executive Andy Winter
Brighton and Hove Mayor Cllr Dee Simson and Brighton Housing Trust chief executive Andy Winter

It was a scorcher in Brighton on Sunday, but that didn't stop hundreds of cyclists racking up more than 10,000 miles between them for charity.

The Greater Brighton Cycle Challenge, a fundraising event for homeless charity Brighton Housing Trust, took place yesterday (July 1) at the Preston Park Velodrome.

Cllr Dee Simson handing out a medal

Cllr Dee Simson handing out a medal

In total 220 cyclists clocked up enough miles to reach the Sunshine Coast of Australia – on one of the hottest days of the year so far.

At the Velodrome, cyclists collectively cycled more than 4,000 laps, while others took on 30-mile and 58-mile cycles across the South Downs, including local councillors and Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle.

The purpose of the challenges was to raise funds for First Base Day Centre which is run by Brighton Housing Trust (BHT).

To date over £11,000 has been raised, including over £5,700 in online sponsorship, a bucket collection raising £106 on the day, and further sponsorship and donations are expected over the next couple of weeks.

Brighton and Hove Conservative councillors Andrew Wealls, Nick Taylor, Tony Janio and Nick Lewry

Brighton and Hove Conservative councillors Andrew Wealls, Nick Taylor, Tony Janio and Nick Lewry

Jo Berry, BHT head of fundraising,said: “The temperatures in Brighton and surrounding areas felt more like those you might expect in the Australian Outback. It was an incredible achievement by all concerned to have cycled that far in these oppressive conditions.

“What is equally impressive is the amount raised for First Base Day Centre that works with rough sleepers throughout the year, during heatwaves and in the depth of the winter. At First Base we provide the essential services to maintain basic dignity and life, and the support needed to help people to move off the streets.

“Last year 1,113 clients made use of the services provided at First Base Centre, of whom 1,089 were rough sleepers. 498 clients had a full needs assessment and engaged in a full programme of structured support which resulted in 222 people being helped into accommodation.

“Events such as this make it possible to continue providing the services at First Base”.

The Penny Farthing Club at the Greater Brighton Cycle Challenge

The Penny Farthing Club at the Greater Brighton Cycle Challenge

Cllr Dee Simson, the Mayor of Brighton and Hove, sent cyclists on their way before cycling on a tandem with one of her predecessors Cllr Pete West, before presenting medals to some of the younger riders. It was the first time in 45 years that Cllr Simson has been on a bicycle.

Meanwhile, two participants, Paul Bonett and Jim Stevenson, have cycled 250 miles through the Himalayas, from Shimla to Kaza in the Spiti Valley, including several passes over 11,000 feet.

In the next two days they will go over Kunzum La which is over 15,000 feet. They are due back in Brighton on July 13.

To sponsor Paul Bonett and Jim Stevenson, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paul-bonett5

Mark Strong and Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP

Mark Strong and Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP