Wembley to the Britannia Stadium bike ride.
Over the weekend of the 28th to the 30th of August 2015 we
undertook our first major fundraising event. Here is the story of how 14 of
Dan's mates and a few helpers got on.
14 of Dan’s closest friends formed the Dan Hughes Cycling Club (DHCC) and planned a cycle ride from Wembley Stadium, London to the Britannia stadium in Stoke. This was our first major fund-raising event and was planned to take place over the August bank holiday weekend of 2015. The lads approached us with the idea and we were happy to both support it and be part of it, planning and training didn’t start until May so it was going to be a logistical challenge as well as a fitness one for the riders.
Sue and I drove one of the 2 support vehicles which was very generously loaned to us by Tridev from Chesterton, Sue’s employers at the time. The second support vehicle was provided by the Bowden family and was driven by Steve Forrest & Craig Mason. Sir Thomas Boughey High School very kindly provided a bus to transport the riders down to London on Friday the 28th. We left Bignall End around 10am and made a stop at the Bradwell Crematorium where we all stood in silence by Dan’s Grave for few moments. It was the lads idea and one which Sue and myself were very touched by.
We arrived at our hotel close to Wembley in mid-afternoon and were met by Andy Lester and Tom Casson 2 more riders who both lived in London and Craig Tabener, a good friend of Steve Bailey’s who is a professional photographer and had agreed to cover the ride for us. It was during the early evening that the amount of money donated for the riders reached £5,000 which was significant for one team member who had said that if they reached that figure he would cycle naked for 1 mile……. More on that shortly.
DAY 1 Wembley to Kenilworth.
After a light breakfast and a few photographs at the stadium the riders set off on Saturday August 29th to cover the 95 miles to the overnight stay at Kenilworth, Warwickshire. There was a period of time where the support vans couldn’t find the riders but we eventually caught up with them for lunch in the small Buckinghamshire village of Whaddon where we took over the village green for an hour. Sue had made sandwiches of various fillings which were consumed in no time along with sausage rolls, energy bars, crisps and other snacks before setting off again. There were a couple of notable incidents during the afternoon… the riders were beginning to flag a little so the support drivers in the 2nd van decided to lift their spirits a bit. Steve parked the van by the side of the road waiting for them to arrive. As they approached he shouted to Craig who leapt out of the trees naked and proceeded to dance in front of them. It certainly cheered them up as the pictures show. Now for the naked mile, it was Nathan Stubbs who made the comment so, egged on by the rest of the group, he duly took of his cycling kit and did his naked mile much to amusement of an old lady who just happened to be strolling along the road as they went past. That isn’t the end of the story though, he had hung his clothes over his handlebars and his shirt caught in the spokes of his front wheel and he was sent crashing to the ground. Credit to him for sticking to his promise even it did cost him a few bruises.
Everyone made it safely to Kenilworth and following more photographs it was off into town to get some well-earned food and a drink.
DAY 2 Kenilworth to the Britannia Stadium
We were up early on the Sunday morning preparing more sandwiches, a trip into town was needed to get more supplies of snacks and drinks etc… As for the riders they took over a corner of the car park while they inflated tyres, changed wheels and generally got themselves and their bikes ready for the 75 mile ride to the Britannia Stadium. The route took them past the Belfrey Golf Club, over Cannock chase, into Stone and then onto Stoke on Trent. There were a few stops for snacks and lunch along the way but we made good time and were back in Stoke for around 3 pm.
Arrangements had been made for the Britannia stadium to be open so the riders could complete 1 lap of the pitch on their bikes to finish the ride, what we weren’t expecting was the number of people who turned out to welcome them home. It was a truly humbling experience to listen to them cheering and clapping as they entered the stadium and it kept going as they made their way around the ground ending in the corner by the Boothen End. There were more than few tears shed as family and friends welcomed them back and it sunk in what they had achieved.
Looking back on the ride itself it went very well, there was the odd comedy fall and a number of punctures along with a few minor breakdowns but everyone had made it home safely and that was the most important thing.
On the evening of the 30th a charity auction had been organised by Kim, Dan’s sister, and Steve Forrest, one of Dan’s friends. Again this proved to be a huge success and a fitting end to a wonderful weekend. A raffle, hog roast, live music provided by professional musician Ryan Whitmore and 40 auction items including a signed Stoke City shirt – a wedding photography package donated by Craig Taberner and 2 pieces of unique original art by Ben Riley ensured a very enjoyable and keenly contested auction. One of the items was a painting by Dan’s 2 year old niece Frankie which raised £205 pounds on it’s own!
All together the weekend raised over £11,000.