Cycling cricketers go all out to help former Ireland international Andy Patterson
Over the course of 24 hours over the weekend, eight cricketers undertook a physical challenge probably unlike anything they had experienced before in their lives, all to help a friend in real need.
Starting at 10am on Saturday in Armagh and finishing a day later in Greenisland, the team cycled an incredible 400km (248 miles) around the cricket grounds of the Northern Cricket Union in a fundraising effort for Andy Patterson.
An ex-Ireland international cricketer, Andy was diagnosed with hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) which causes weakness and stiffness in the leg muscles, back in 2013.
The condition will result in Andy becoming confined to a wheelchair and the 45-year-old has had to make renovations to his home in London in order to make life more comfortable.
Kyle McCallan, a lifelong friend of Patterson, came together with other friends and former team-mates of Andy to set up Pedal4Patto.
Their evenings and weekends over the last few months have been dominated by preparation for the cycle, with many hours spent away from wives and young families.
The team were meant to be on a strict timetable, with designated arrival times at each club. But the welcomes they received meant they often stayed longer than they were supposed to, meaning they didn’t arrive at their designated overnight stay at Muckamore until 2am.
“We were absolutely blown away by the welcome we got at the clubs, people turned out to support us, not just with food and drink, but with words of support, and that really spurred us on,” said McCallan.
“It’s probably best summed up by the welcome we got at Stormont. We were late arriving at about 12.15am, but Peter McMorran and his wife were still there, with an entire coffee shop in their boot. It sums up the generosity of spirit that the whole cricket community has shown.”
There were well over 100 people to welcome the battered and bruised cyclists when they arrived at Greenisland yesterday morning, including Andy’s parents Billy and Phyllis.
“It was a very emotional moment seeing the welcome at the finishing line with so many of our friends and family,” added Kyle.
“We got Andy on the phone and it was emotional for us and for him. To be honest we were so tired at that stage that we didn’t really know what to say.”
The response to the GoFund effort has been phenomenal with the target for Pedal4Patto already surpassed with over £25,000 raised.
“So many people supported us, joining us at various stages, and we thank every single one of them,” said Kyle.