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Monday, 28 July 2014

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250 cyclists in ride to remember Cumbrian brothers

More than 250 people turned out for a cycling challenge to remember two Cockermouth brothers who were killed in a road accident.

Townend bike ride photo
Joseph Baxter, Jemina Cope and Rhian Blakeley

Keen cyclists Christian Townend, 29, and his 21 year-old brother Nicholas, known as Niggy, died in a collision involving a coach in December 2010 as they were heading home after a bike ride.

His family decided to hold a cycle ride in their memory last year and on Saturday the second Team Townend Pushbike Challenge took place to raise money for RoadPeace, a charity for road crash victims and their families. Last year’s event raised £17,000 which was the charity’s biggest ever single donation.

The brothers’ mother Eleanor Ella, 56, of Brigham Road, said: “It is a massive tribute to the boys to see this number of people turn out to honour their memory.

“It shows how widespread the support is for them.

“Having the bike ride seemed the most appropriate way to remember them and the event is something that they both would have approved of.

“We thought it was very fitting as cycling was their passion and both boys had competed widely for years.

“It would be wonderful to match last year’s total and RoadPeace have been a massive support to me personally and for the wider family offering advice and moral support.

“Today we have had tremendous support from family, friends and the general public and we are very grateful to all the sponsors and those who have supported us and offered very significant raffle prizes.”

The challenge featured either a 22-mile or a 42-mile route that started and finished at Loweswater Village Hall and took in both Newlands and Whinlatter passes. Their brothers Richard and Robin both tackled the 42-mile route.

Richard, 28, of Brigham Road, Cockermouth, said: “It was great fun and I am really pleased to have taken six minutes off last year’s time.

“It has been a fantastic day and exceeded our expectations.

“We have been lucky with the weather and a perfect tribute and it is fantastic that everyone has put in so much hard work.”

Robin, 25, also of Brigham Road, encountered two punctures during the route but managed to keep going and complete the course.

He said: “It has been an amazing turnout and it is good to see so many people enjoying it.

“It goes to show that Christian and Niggy touched a lot of hearts and this is an event people are interested in.

“It is a perfect way to celebrate their life by having a cycling event and then having a few beers.”

Many friends who knew the brothers well also turned out to take part. Jamie Law, 25, of Little Broughton, was one of the first people to finish the short course in a time of 1.26.

He said: “I knew all the brothers and it is a shame that something like this had to happen for such a great event to be put on.

“When someone puts an event like this on it is not that easy so it is good that people have come out to support it.

“It is good for the area and good for cycling.”

Ian Hayton, 24, of Eaglesfield, said: “I knew Niggy really well. We were close friends and at times he practically lived in my house.

“He would be proud of us doing this and it has gathered quite a bit of support and drawn people in from the clubs. It has been challenging but rewarding.”

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