In the saddle for Soft Border Cycle

Geoff Hill.
Geoff Hill.

Newtownabbey man, Geoff Hill, is joining a group of cyclists in a ‘Soft Border Cycle’ challenge this month to raise funds for local cancer charity, Friends of the Cancer Centre.

The group of cycling enthusiasts from across Northern Ireland are getting set to take on a cycle challenge, which will take them along the entire length of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The Soft Border Cycle was the brainchild of Dr McAleer, oncologist at the Cancer Centre, who saw the unique fundraising opportunity brought on by Brexit.

The cycle sets off on Monday, August 12 in Newry and the team will cover a total of 440km before crossing the finish line on August 16 in Muff, Co Donegal.

While many of the group are seasoned cyclists with several long distance endurance challenges to their name, others have just taken up cycling this year and this will be the first cycling event that they have taken part in.

Geoff, who is chairman of Friends of the Cancer Centre, has taken part in several cycles in aid of the charity along with Dr McAleer helping to raise over £200,000 along the way so he knows what’s in store for the group.

Looking ahead to the new challenge, he said: “I’m really looking forward to getting back in the saddle, getting on the road and raising money for Friends of the Cancer Centre.

“As fun and exciting as the cycle will be, we can’t lose sight of why we are doing this. As chairman of the charity, I see first-hand the difference Friends of the Cancer Centre makes to local people affected by cancer.

“The charity has helped fund precious staff and equipment for our service and patients, including massive support for clinical trials, which bring novel and better treatment options to our patients.

“The cycling group includes patients and staff, who really value the role of the charity and knowing how much the cycle will benefit the charity’s work will certainly give us the drive and motivation to cross that finish line.”

For over 30 years, the charity has worked to enhance the quality of patient care and support through its life-changing and life-saving work, which includes funding additional nurses, supporting local research and providing practical support, such as financial grants, which can help patients through a difficult time.

Friends of the Cancer Centre relies entirely on the generosity of the local community and all money donated stays in Northern Ireland, directly benefitting patients and their families.

Fundraising manager for Friends of the Cancer Centre, Claire Hogarth added: “I want to thank Geoff and the team for taking on this incredible challenge. They have been in training for the cycle for a while now so I want to wish them every success and hope the weather stays good for them.

“The money raised will make a very big difference to the lives of patients and their families right across Northern Ireland.”

If you would like to make a donation in aid of their fundraising effort, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/seamusmcaleer