Around 2,000 cyclists are making their way down the Northumberland coast today to raise money for a childhood cancer charity.
The 18th Great North Bike Ride started from Seahouses at 8:50am today (Sunday) and ends 60 miles later at Tynemouth, outside the Priory, taking in some magnificent scenery en route.
Cyclists are raising money for the Chris Lucas Trust, which was established in memory of Chris, who died age 16 of a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer – rhabdomyosarcoma.
Soon after Chris’ death, John Lee, the father of one of his best friends, wanted to help raise funds and came up with the idea of cycling 12 hours from Edinburgh to Tynemouth. But John and five friends were persuaded instead to choose a more manageable 60 miles along the beautiful Northumberland coastline from Seahouses to Tynemouth – and so the route was established. They raised £2,000 in the first Great North Bike Ride in August 2000.
As the Chris Lucas website points out: 'Tynemouth Priory was one of Chris’ favourite places to visit, both during the happy times and sad times, and so it is a fitting place to end our annual Bike Ride, with a celebration of Chris’ life.'
The trust now funds two medical researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research and its aim is one day to find a cure for rhabdomyosarcoma, which affects 60 children in the UK each year.