30th August 2015
Two Brothers - One Challenge - The Ride
On Wednesday 26th August North Elmham brothers Phillip and Richard Milbourne rode into Upton Park, home of West Ham United, to complete their epic 2,250 mile, thirty-one day challenge of riding to all Premier and Football League grounds in the country.
In all they visited ninety-four grounds during the course of a month and have, to date, raised well over £7,000 for Breast Cancer Care and the British Liver Trust whilst also seeking to raise awareness of the importance of the NHS Organ Donation Register.
Staring from Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge on Monday 27th July the pair have experienced a whole variety of terrain, weather conditions encountered a number of problems along the way. The final week of the challenge was undertaken in very poor weather conditions. The boys were frequently faced with torrential rain, strong winds and poor visibility. This resulted in the having to avoid puddles and enduring spray from passing traffic.
The rain started as they entered Wales and only stopped for one day, and that was when they were resting in Plymouth.
Some of the days which would have been challenging in the best of conditions became real tests of endurance and will-power. The ride over Shap Fell on the A6 and the long haul over Dartmoor were both undertaken in appalling conditions with low cloud, heavy rain and strong winds. However, both Phil and Richard agreed that whilst these were the most difficult days, they were also the most satisfying.
The final day of the challenge saw the team ride from Crawley and visit nine London grounds. As with every other day, they had terrific support from the clubs they visited. They gained pitch-side access at sixty-six grounds. They did get to a number of grounds at weekends when they were locked up or being used for games.
Both local sides, Ipswich and Norwich were very supportive. The best of all were Manchester City where the team received a personal tour of the City of Manchester Stadium from the Head of Operations, Dan Schofield. He is also providing a signed team shirt for their fund-raising auction.
This auction will also include two Chelsea match tickets, a Tour of Old Trafford Stadium and Museum, a signed ball from Swansea City, a signed pennant from Norwich City plus various other donations from clubs. During their ride the boys required four new tyres, seven new inner tubes, a new gear cassette and a number of other adjustments. Every cycle shop they went into was very supportive and pulled out all the stops to get them back on the road as quickly as possible.
One of their biggest problems was ensuring a clear safe route. Designated cycle routes are not always what one might expect! Routes took them through fields and, on one memorable occasion, through a woodland section.
During their ride the boys required four new tyres, seven new inner tubes, a new gear cassette and a number of other adjustments. Every cycle shop they went into was very supportive and pulled out all the stops to get them back on the road as quickly as possible. It is not always easy to ascertain the suitability of roads. Some A-roads are excellent for cyclists whilst others are too dangerous. This was a constant challenge and flexibility was required to re-route where necessary.
Diana Higman, World Champion Transplant Cyclist, together with her daughter Jess joined the boys for the leg from Leicester to Derby before travelling to Argentina where she won a gold medal in the World Transplant Games. This was memorable for taking the group into some really unsuitable terrain with Diana commenting that she would not even want to take a mountain bike along some designated areas.
The quest has been inspired as a result of ill-health suffered by their parents, Andrew and Lorna. Lorna was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999 and was treated at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.
One in eight women will get breast cancer – it's devastating effects touch thousands of us every day. Breast Cancer Care's specialist nurses, local services and emotional support network mean there's always someone to turn to for information and support. Every year, Breast Cancer Care helps thousands of women find a way to live with, through and beyond breast cancer.
Kate Pearse, Sporting & Challenges Events Executive at Breast Cancer Care, says:
"We want to say huge congratulations to Phil and Richard. It has been absolutely brilliant; the team and I have really loved following their progress. The money they have raised will make a huge difference to the 55,000 people diagnosed with breast cancer each year as it helps us fund our vital support services."
Andrew was diagnosed with an autoimmune liver condition in 1997 which eventually led to a successful liver transplant carried out at Addenbrookes Hospital in February 2011.
Liver disease is often diagnosed late as symptoms do not show until much damage has been done. Liver disease is the third biggest cause of premature death in the UK and an estimated 12 million people are at risk of liver damage today. British Liver Trust provides direct and online patient support and information, and, crucially, raises awareness to improve diagnosis and reduce the numbers affected in future.
Audrey Cornelius, Fundraising Manager at British Liver Trust was very impressed saying, "Many, many congratulations, we are all very proud of you. This past week must have been especially challenging given the dreadful weather. An estimated 12 million people are living with liver damage and the issue is getting worse. We need to do so much more and funding is essential to keep our services going. We need to get people talking about and loving their livers, as we do about our hearts. The story of the ride is on the boys' website www.pedalforpounds.co.uk. There is still time for people to give generously to these great causes.