Spartans cycle ride raises money for MND

Cyclists embarking on a challenge to raise money for the Scott Bell Fund
Cyclists embarking on a challenge to raise money for the Scott Bell Fund

Sixteen charity cyclists embarked on a charity ride Sunderland’s Stadium of Light to Blyth Spartans’ Croft Park via Newcastle United’s St James Park, in aid of the Scott Bell Fund on Saturday.

The group included former players from all three clubs, who were aiming to raise as much money for The Scott Bell Fund.

Shortly before the riders set off at 8:30am from Sunderland, and event organiser Fergus Dowd said how much they were looking forward to it.

He said: “Scott was a great lad who always had a smile on his face.

“I am sure he is up there looking down on us and smiling.”

Former Black Cats defender Maurice Hepworth was happy to put loyalties aside for the challenge, and said: “We are all here together, coming together for a great cause.

“Fergus wanted us to participate and we were more than happy to get involved.”

The ride from Wearside to Tyneside took just under an hour with the group arriving at St James Park shortly before 9:30am and after congregating by the Sir Bobby Robson statue outside the stadium they were walked down the tunnel to the booming sounds of “Local Hero” in the background before having more pitchside photos taken.

At the half way point former Magpies defender Olivier Bernard revealed just why he had agreed to take part: “It was a good ride, the atmosphere was really good and a nice feeling to be involved.

“My wife’s Auntie died from a similar disease so this was something I had to do and my wife wanted me to take part.”

As midday struck the riders entered Croft Park, the ground that was the scene of many of Scott Bell’s most notable triumphs.

They were greeted by family members, friends and representatives from Spartans including manager Tom Wade and Dowd described the ride as “memorable” but stressed that “the fight continues” for raising funds and awareness for the charity.

He said: “I think everyone who took part had a very enjoyable morning and we have had a memorable time.

“Hopefully we have raised some money and most importantly some awareness of the Scott Bell Fund but the fight continues.”