Team of fundraising cyclists exceed target for hospital’s cancer unit by £5k

The London to Paris cycle team. Left to right: Peter Kerry, Michael Fleet, Ian Cornforth, Danny Ditc

The London to Paris cycle team. Left to right: Peter Kerry, Michael Fleet, Ian Cornforth, Danny Ditcham, Kerne Soar and Roberto Iacobucci . - Credit: Archant

A brotherly band of cyclists have smashed their fundraising target for cancer care at Ipswich Hospital.

The London to Paris cycle team

The London to Paris cycle team - Credit: Archant

The six-strong team set out to raise £10,000 for the Woolverstone Macmillan Centre – but has exceeded that total by half since completing the London to Paris ride.

Each team member grew up in Ipswich, where they have stayed to pursue careers in teaching, catering and plumbing.

All have, in some way, been affected by cancer, and their £15,000 donation will help fund Ipswich Hospital’s new £4.7million treatment wing, which opened in May.

Ian Cornforth, 41, whose friendship with fellow rider Danny Ditcham goes back to their days as plumbing apprentices, said the team had been overwhelmed by the support.

Fundraising included a race night at the Royal George, Ipswich, and events organised by team members’ businesses, including a golf day held by Mr Cornforth’s firm, Plumb Mate.

“We cannot thank our supporters enough,” said the father-of-two.

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“All of our families have been affected by cancer. We wanted to see the money stay locally.

“I have to commend Helen Glenholmes (fundraising manager) and Macmillan for all their support.

“We would also like to thank our partners for their support while we trained and were away for the week.”

Also among the team was Mr Ditcham, of DJD Plumbing & Heating; Mr Cornforth’s 70-year-old father, Mick Fleet; Peter Kerry; Rob Iacobucci and Kerne Soar.

Mr Cornforth said: “Peter is a serious rider, so we referred to him as our elite athlete. My dad cycles 150 miles a week, and Danny takes it quite seriously.

“The rest of us cycle, but not to great extremes.

“For me, it was one of the hardest things I’ve done. I couldn’t quite believe it when I arrived.

“We had a great guide rider, whose assistance was superb, and we only had one puncture early doors.”

The team were back in the saddle for a more leisurely ride the weekend after returning home.

The ride included more than 12,000ft of climbs, along with plenty of friendly gibes.

“There were a couple of tetchy moments but lots of laughs,” said Mr Cornforth. “For example, helping someone replace their chain; then wiping your face and not being told it’s covered in grease all day.”

The friends are already planning to set off on another fundraising adventure in 2018.