Welsh cyclists raise over £10,000 for inclusive sport

31 May 2017

Tour de Cymru cyclistsA group of keen Welsh cyclists concluded a staggering 350-mile journey across Wales this weekend. Their so-called ‘Tour de Cymru’ cycle ride has raised over £10,000 to create more sporting opportunities for disabled people.

The challenge, run by Leonard Cheshire Disability, ran from Wednesday 24 May to Sunday 28 May.

Cycling from Anglesey in the north, to Llanhennock in Gwent in the south east, the riders called in at Leonard Cheshire care homes and supported living services to meet disabled people on route.

The cyclists faced broken spokes and punctures, and the weather ranged from thunderstorms to heatwaves, yet they were still determined to continue, to raise awareness of the value of sport and social activities for disabled people. All money raised by the challenge will go directly to funding more inclusive sport for people that charity Leonard Cheshire Disability supports across Wales.

One of the cyclists, Ged Beaumont, a handyman from Llanhennock, said after completing the challenge:

‘I’ll never forget the welcome we received at each service we visited, seeing residents welcoming us whilst cycling on static bikes and knowing I have had the opportunity to make a difference to some people’s lives.

‘I found it a totally overwhelming and emotional experience and one I shall treasure forever.’

Along the way, the cyclists met numerous figures from local councils and parliamentary candidates.

In Llandeilo, assembly member Simon Thomas was on hand to lend his support to the challenge and in Swansea, the cyclists met with Carolyn Harris, Labour parliamentary candidate for Swansea East.

The cyclists’ epic journey concluded at Leonard Cheshire Disability care home, Llanhennock Lodge on Sunday 28 May. Former Secretary of State for Wales Lord Peter Hain was there to welcome the cyclists, and present them with medals for completing their challenge.

Many Leonard Cheshire care home residents also completed their own virtual tour by cycling the 350-mile route on static bikes, which are adapted for disabled people to exercise on.

Kevin Gillespie, a resident at Danybryn care home in Cardiff, said:

‘It’s not normal for me to be doing all this exercise, but it’s been great. I’m so glad I’ve done it!’

Julie Beaumont, who assisted in organising the tour and works in Leonard Cheshire’s Wales office, said:

‘The success of Tour de Cymru exceeded my wildest expectations.

‘We have inspired so many of our residents and raised awareness everywhere we went that sport is for everyone regardless of ability.’

Leonard Cheshire research shows as much appetite for sport and exercise among disabled people as there is in the wider population, but there are barriers to participation.

The Tour de Cymru is one of many events celebrating 100 years since the birth of the charity’s founder, Group Captain Leonard Cheshire.

The war hero and global humanitarian sadly passed away in 1992 after almost half a century of work supporting disabled people.

Continuing his legacy, the charity currently runs care services globally, and also has specific projects to widen education and employment opportunities for disabled people.

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