The businessman who founded Cycle 4 Cynthia has been honoured by organisers of the event which has now raised more than £400,000.
Keen cyclist and Northampton-based property developer John Pinkham encouraged a group of friends to join him on a ride around the county in 2003 in aid of Cynthia Spencer Hospice.
A year later, when the hospice launched a £1.5 million appeal, John decided to extend the invitation to families, businesses and cycling enthusiasts, with the result that more than 450 riders took part and raised an incredible £35,000.
Twelve years on, thousands of riders have leapt into their saddles, raising money not only for the hospice but also for Macmillan Cancer Support and the Northampton-based children’s charity Kidsaid.
John has now stepped down as chairman of the ride and in recognition of his achievements was praised in a surprise commendation at the launch of Cycle 4 Cynthia 2016 at Franklin’s Gardens on Wednesday.
After announcing that last year’s ride had raised a record-breaking total of nearly £74,000 for the hospice, its fundraising manager, John Helm, thanked Mr Pinkham for the contribution he has made to the lives of hundreds of local people.
He said: “The invaluable care which the hospice provides for its patients and their families is only possible thanks to the kind of support we receive from such events, so for conceiving the ride, which has prompted the raising of such an incredible sum of money, we are eternally grateful.”
An emotional Mr Pinkham then returned the compliment by paying tribute to the many thousands of cyclists, marshals, volunteers and businesses who have helped to establish Cycle 4 Cynthia’s place in the county’s fundraising calendar.
“I’m very proud to have instigated the event but even more thrilled that so many people have been moved to join us over the years and show their wonderful support.
“Long may it continue!” he added, before pledging to ride the 50-mile route this year.
The event also saw the presentation of a number of trophies to those who rode in 2015; the Melbourne Arms in Duston took the biggest team title with 41 riders, 79-year-old Alan Sturgess, from Finedon, was honoured for raising the most sponsorship of almost £1,100, the team from Nationwide retained the fancy dress prize for cycling in food costumes, while the chairman’s awards went to 13-year-old Matthew Collinson, from Brackley, in recognition of the spirit he showed after coming off his bike just a mile from the finish.
Matthew, who was 12 at the time, was cycling the 25-mile route and sustained road rash and a dislocated toe in the tumble before being taken to hospital. Despite his injuries, his major concern was that he had not completed the ride and would not receive his medal. The hospice of course ensured that he did.
The presentations were made by Saints coach and regular C4C rider, Jim Mallinder, along with players Tom Wood, Ethan Waller, Sam Dickinson and team manager, Paul Shields.
They were joined by John Pinkham’s TV-presenter daughter, Natalie, and some of the event sponsors, without whom the ride would not be the success it is, including Triad, Towergate Insurance Brokers, Blue Step Solutions and Chelton Brown.
This year’s ride will again offer routes of five, 25 and 50 miles, will take place on Sunday September 25 at the new venue of Holdenby House, by kind permission of James and Karen Lowther.
For details, visit www.cycle4cynthia.co.uk or by calling Sue Bowness at the hospice on 01604 678088.