Hundreds of dedicated cyclists have put on their helmets to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation at Goodwood’s Motor Circuit.
his year’s annual British Heart Foundation Bike Ride saw hundreds of cyclists gather at Goodwood Motor Circuit to raise money to support the life-saving research which the British Heart Foundation team carry out.
Since launching 21 years ago the bike ride has raised a combined total of more than £300,000 for the nation’s leading heart charity and on Sunday the event saw another 400 cyclists take on the circuit.
British Heart Foundation’s fundraising manager Hannah Miller said: “A huge congratulations to all those who took part in a challenging but enjoyable day’s cycling.
“Cyclists were able to complete any distance, from one lap of the 2.4mile circuit before collecting their certificate and medal.
“However, George Adams took the winner’s distance title with a staggering 47 laps, or 113miles.”
Participant, Louise Kennedy took the women’s distance title with 31 laps , the under 16’s category was won by Thomas Johnson, 12, with 21 laps, and the under-12s and under-eights categories were won by brothers Rufus and Oscar Cooper, aged 9 and 7, with 16 and ten laps respectively.
One young cyclist who made his mark was five-year-old Sebastian Cooper, who completed an impressive ten laps of the circuit, meaning he cycled a total of 24 miles.
One story which touched the hearts of many was that of two challengers from Pulborough, Sam O’Leary, 31, and her daughter Niamh, two, who followed in a cycle trailer behind.
Niamh was born with an extremely rare and life-threatening heart defect and it was thanks to the support of the British Heart Foundation and medical experts that she is still fighting the battle today.
Sam said: “It’s an extremely rare and serious condition and it meant that Niamh had to have a series of operations in the first few weeks of her life.
“Niamh’s journey continues to hit speed bumps but generally it is moving in a positive direction.
“She is my absolute world, full of life and words can’t express my thanks to the amazing team at Southampton General Hospital, Ronald McDonald House and of course the research of the BHF.”
Sunday was special for Sam and Niamh as not only did they complete a total of three laps around the circuit but it was also Sam’s birthday, so after the cycle was completed they sat back and enjoyed a special picnic together.
Hannah said: “Sam and Niamh have been through an extraordinary experience and it was very special seeing them take part in the Goodwood bike ride.
“It’s only through the amazing dedication of people like Sam and her family that we are able to fund research into these conditions, and others, and help beat the heartbreak they cause.
“We hope to raise over £8,000 from this year’s event and rider sponsorship.”
Each and every category winner will now receive a goody bag full of cycling accessories including a full bike service worth more than £60, donated by Geared Bikes and Wear in Chichester.
There are around seven million people in the UK living with heart and circulatory disease and the British Heart Foundation funds £100million of research each year into all heart and circulatory conditions.
These include heart diseases, stroke and vascular dementia, along with risk factors including diabetes.
For further information on the annual Goodwood bike ride and other fundraising events visit www.bhf.org.uk