A charity bike ride from Penton Hook Marina near Chertsey-on-Thames to Ocean Village Marina in Southampton raised more than £10,000 for the British Heart Foundation


YBM forumite Gary Pearson spent six months organising the charity bike ride through the YBM.com forums and MDL Marinas.

He told YBW.com:  “I enlisted two willing forumites, Paul Markwick (Rafiki) and Howard Green (Zippy) who played a significant role in helping to pull together sponsorship, auction prizes and a whole manner of other things, they’ve been brilliant.”

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Armed with energy bars and drinks, the team left Saturday morning (June 6) after a breakfast of bacon sandwiches provided by staff at Penton Hook.

The 68-mile ride took seven hours to complete and was tough going at times.  “The course was challenging enough but add in the wind it was like going up hill on the straights.  A pair of riders found news names for the word ‘wind’ as they passed the hours away, probably not best to repeat what they are,” Pearson said.

Riders were met at Ocean Village with cheers and applause by MDL staff, berth holders and supporters, and welcomed with banners, balloons and a well-earned barbecue in their honour.

Pearson said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to my fellow cyclists and our supporters, as well as the staff at MDL for their hard work and the Royal Southampton Yacht Club for hosting the evening celebrations, all of which helped in making the day such a big success.”

He also thanked YBM.com forum members for their contribution: “YBW forum members played a big part in raising the £10k, all of them digging deep to provide donations, purchase raffle tickets and bid on the auction items. “

MDL Marinas marketing and operations director Dean Smith said: “We were delighted to host the ride at two of our marinas as this is a cause that we know is very close to Gary’s heart. The staff did a great job putting on refreshments at both Penton Hook and Ocean Village Marina, making it a really sociable and fun event.”

And Gary would do it again “without a second thought. It’s been very fulfilling to have found a small way of paying back those that kept me in good care while I recovered from the heart infection last winter.”