Rugby team's cycle to Exeter from Northampton raises £43,000 for cervical cancer

The Bugbrooke RUFC 50-strong team set off from the village on May 15 in a four-day effort to get to Devon. Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds.
The Bugbrooke RUFC 50-strong team set off from the village on May 15 in a four-day effort to get to Devon. Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds.

A former rugby team which cycled from Northampton to Exeter to raise money for a cervical cancer charity has fundraised a whopping £43,037.

Jo Painter, of Wootton, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2018 when she was just 38 and was supported by charity, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust throughout her gruelling six weeks of chemoradiotherapy treatment.

The cyclists have exceeded their expectations by 18,000.

The cyclists have exceeded their expectations by 18,000.

To raise money for the charity who supported his wife, Jo's husband Neil put together a 50-strong group of friends earlier this month who cycled a mammoth 206 miles from Northampton to Exeter.

Neil played for Bugbrooke Rugby Club from the age of 15, as did many of the cyclists who took part in the three-day cycle, and the charity trip has exceeded the £25,000 target by £18,000.

Jo said: "The cyclists smashed it.

"The most wonderful support team pulled everyone together, supported one another and had a fabulous time.

"I’ll never be able to put in to words how proud I am of them all."

When the cyclists got to Exeter on May 19 they joined their 300 supporters at the Exeter vs Saints match where the hosts ran a coaching session for the Bugbrooke that morning.

Jo added: "When we came up with this idea we never in a million years imagined so many people would jump on board and join Neil in this gruelling challenge.

"I have so much admiration and love for each and every one of them. Some of them have personally battled cancer, others have lost their loved ones to this dreadful disease.

"Many pushed themselves way beyond they ever thought - yet crossed the finishing line at Sandy Park in Exeter buzzing. We celebrated hard at the after party which was an absolute blast."

Cyclist Donna Shelly said she'll never forget the days fundraising: “What can I say? Northampton to Exeter was one of the most challenging experiences I have ever accomplished. I’m not sure what’s hurting more the glutes shoulders or my stomach from all the laughter.

"I couldn’t of achieved this without the team.

"It's been an experience I will never forget, I am proud and privileged to be a part of it all.”