More than 100 cyclists will don the lycra to support young people in recovery from cancer in Scotland as the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust stages its first Largs to Cowes Charity Cycle next May.

A team of 12 riders will take on the whole 940 (584 mile) challenge from the Trust’s base in Largs on Scotland’s West Coast to its headquarters in Cowes on the Isle of Wight from Saturday 4 May to Sunday 12 May.

They will be joined by 10 different day riders on each leg.

Run in association with adventure sport event specialists, GP Sport, the Largs to Cowes Charity Cycle will see the riders cycle around 100km a day, with the shortest leg 77 km to Nottingham on day six and the longest 126 km to Samlesbury, near Preston, on day four.

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust supports young people aged 8-24 to rebuild their confidence after cancer. When treatment ends the Trust’s work begins, as for many young people simply picking up where they left off before their diagnosis just isn’t possible. In total 650 young people have sailed from Largs since 2013, including 158 this year.

One of the 12 core riders, Mark Stevens, knows first-hand the difference the Trust makes to young people in recovery having first sailed with the Trust in 2009 after three years’ intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.

Now 32, Mark, who is a regular Trust volunteer and was recently appointed Company Secretary, said: “I benefited from the priceless work the Trust undertakes. I’d been very unsure about going on my first Trust trip but coming away unscathed helped me realise I was more capable than I thought. It massively enhanced my confidence to push myself.

“The Trust gave me a really strong foundation to build on. I went back to university a year earlier than I would have done, if at all, and I have a new life of adventure, meeting people and supporting others. I have always wanted to undertake an extensive ride such as this and I cannot miss the opportunity to see Britain on two wheels under my own power.”

As well as riding through some of Britain’s most striking and memorable scenery and enjoying the sense of achievement from completing a personal challenge of this scale, riders will stop to visit young cancer patients and medical staff at hospitals in Nottingham and Oxford, which both have strong Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust connections.

Father and son, Peter and Tom Cazalet, are also part of the core team. Peter has been a Trustee for almost two years and involved as a corporate partner for 12. By taking on the Largs to Cowes challenge, the pair are delighted to go the extra mile in their support.

Peter said: “What the Trust has already achieved in its first 15 years has been truly staggering. The opportunity to help it continue to grow and to increase the number of young people we reach and engage with is vital.”

Tom, 31, added: “The challenge of riding that distance is something I’ve been looking for for some time and it’s a nice opportunity to do something with my dad. Part of the challenge will be keeping him going, particularly up steep climbs.”

More than 2,180 young people in recovery have joined Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust sailing or residential adventure trips since 2003, with a record 649 young people from across the UK benefitting in 2018.

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