A group of brothers and friends are cycling 2,000km from Barcelona to Manchester to raise £40,000 to buy a new ambulance for St Ann’s Hospice.
The team, who are cycling in memory of Charles Mitten, includes Andy Mitten, one of Charlie’s sons, who is also a football journalist and editor of the Manchester United fanzine United We Stand.
The group will be meeting and speaking to professional footballers along the way to help spread the word about their epic charity challenge.
Andy explained: “Dad died in St Ann’s in Little Hulton in 2018. He was only 69, and as a man who never stopped complaining about Manchester United, he seldom complained about his own pain.
“We felt helpless, and wondered what we could do to help so told him that we would be raising money by cycling from Barcelona to Manchester in 2019.
“He told us that it was a bit much, and asked if we could avoid the mountains, but I explained we couldn’t move the Pyrenees.
“After dad died, some of the others I’d told about the ride were still keen to do it, and along with lots of generous support from others who are up for helping with everything from driving, massages, cooking and cleaning, we set about eight months of planning.
“We know St Ann’s is a charity and that they need to raise £40,000 for a new ambulance, and that’s what we’re working towards.
“It’ll help their inpatients and also their outpatients too, and we’d love as many people as possible to sponsor us if they can. Every pound helps.”
Tough day today. Rained all day. Eight degrees in Med France. Five punctures between us. I spent last night vomiting. Did 111kms crossing Pyrenees towards Narbonne. Done 300kms since Barcelona. But total is now £17,500 and L’Equipe did a piece on us. pic.twitter.com/Vz6k3X3qWb
— Andy Mitten (@AndyMitten) June 11, 2019
The team has also gathered the support of sponsors including Red Army Bet, Meadows Gin, Brittany Ferries, and Fat Heads, and their friends are also walking the length of Hadrian’s Wall and playing in a football tournament to raise additional funds for the cause.
Eamonn O’Neal, Chief Executive of St Ann’s, said: “What a phenomenal effort the team are all making to help us raise much-needed funds for our ambulance. I don’t know where to start in thanking them, it’s an incredible challenge.
“It’s amazing how many people are already sponsoring the group. We’re all keeping track of their progress on social media and via their JustGiving page, and we’re looking forward to welcoming them all back when they reach Manchester.
“Thanks so much to all of the group for their dedication and all the training they’ve put in too. The money they raise will make such a huge difference to our patients, and we really do appreciate everything they are doing in memory of Charlie.”
To donate to the team’s fundraising page, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/barcelonamanchesterbikeride