Saddle up for charity epic

Mayor of Wigan Coun Ron Conway supporting the Wigan and Leigh Hospice annual bike ride from Manchester to Blackpool

Mayor of Wigan Coun Ron Conway supporting the Wigan and Leigh Hospice annual bike ride from Manchester to Blackpool

The borough’s first citizen will get on his bike along with hundreds of Wiganers for a leading charity’s popular annual cycle ride.

Mayor of Wigan Coun Ron Conway will be one of more than 230 cyclists saddling up and pedalling from Manchester to Blackpool in aid of Wigan and Leigh Hospice (WLH) this weekend.

Coun Conway has completed the event several times in the past to help WLH and was keen to get back in the saddle and lend his support during his mayoral year.

The 63-mile ride is always one of the highlights of the fund-raising calendar for the Hindley-based charity and organisers hope this year’s event on Sunday will be no exception.

Riders will depart from Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground and make their way to the finish line on the famous seaside resort’s South Promenade.

The route winds its way into the borough for a refreshment stop in Aspull and then continues north to Preston before heading through the Fylde to the final destination of Blackpool.

Riders will be kept going in true Wigan style as the charity is arranging a refuelling pie halt in Preston.

While it is not common to see a Mayor of Wigan swapping his or her chains of office for lycra, Coun Conway is by no means the first. Back in 1998 the then first citizen Coun Ken Pye could often be seen pedalling into work.

WLH community fund-raiser Christine Edwardson said: “The bike ride is always a fantastic occasion and we’re thrilled that so many people are going to be riding for the hospice this year, including the Mayor who has also ridden for the hospice in previous years.

“Our riders will be well supported by our back-up vehicles and we’ll make sure our riders are well fed and watered along the way.

“We are very grateful to all our riders for their support.

“Every penny raised will make a significant difference to the lives of local people living with a life-limiting condition across our borough.”

One of the charity’s most important events, the fund-raising bike ride has now been held annually for 20 years and since its inception in 1996 has raised around £750,000.

Proceeds go towards supporting WLH’s work providing state-of-the-art palliative care to residents at its Kildare Street headquarters and in their own homes.

Entrants pay a registration fee and are asked to raise a minimum amount of money; the entry fee is inclusive of refreshments and the option to get a lift home so they don’t have to cycle all the way back again unless they want to.