Rugby rivals rake in staggering sum
POOR weather over the weekend failed to dampen Norfolk’s community spirit or its generous support as the total raised by Wooden Spoon Eastern Counties’ Club Together event surpassed six figures.
Hundreds of well-wishers turned out to cheer on cyclists taking part in the 320-mile, three-day ride and helped swell the total raised for the children’s charity of rugby and other local causes beyond the £125,000 mark.
World Cup winner and Wooden Spoon lead ambassador Phil Vickery was among those who lined the route to rally the 90-strong field of riders – many of them players and officials from rugby clubs across Norfolk – as they navigated between the county’s 11 senior rugby clubs.
Addressing the peloton during a planned pit-stop, the former England captain said: “There’s no such thing as a bad charity, but when you can raise money for the children and families of the region in which you live, then I don’t know a better recipe than that.
“The money you are raising is going to have a huge impact on the communities of this beautiful part of the country and, as an ambassador of Wooden Spoon, I wholeheartedly thank you for your efforts.”
Wooden Spoon Eastern Counties chairman Séamus Farrelly said he was delighted – but unsurprised – by the incredible success of the event, which saw riders set off from Norwich Union RFC on Friday and cross the finish line at Norwich RFC on Sunday.
“More than £100,000 had been committed in sponsorship and through fundraising before the cyclists even set-off,” he explained. “Raising such a significant sum is obviously a fantastic achievement and one which all the riders can be proud of, but it was clear from the early stages of planning this event that Norfolk’s businesses, communities and rugby clubs were behind us.
“The knowledge that every penny raised would be spent within the county provided plenty of momentum and motivation to keep money coming in and tired legs pumping.”
The bike ride was the brainchild of Mark Loveday, a committed cyclist and rugby fan who – with the help of Séamus – was instrumental in steering the project to a profitable conclusion.
Among the army of sponsors were Pedal Revolution, which provided training, mechanical and physiotherapy advice and support to the riders, and the Booker Group, which supplied vital sustenance to the cyclists and teams of helpers.