Trio’s cycle ride to France

Marcus Bowen, Richard Nordgreen and James Youtan who cycled from London to Paris for the Anthony Nolan Trust
Marcus Bowen, Richard Nordgreen and James Youtan who cycled from London to Paris for the Anthony Nolan Trust

A trio of cyclists originally from Slinfold has raised more than £3,500 to help people with leukaemia by cycling from London to Paris.

Marcus Bowen, Richard Nordgreen and James Youtan, all 26, have been friends since childhood and over the summer they have been tirelessly training for their 350 mile venture through the French countryside.

Former Cranleigh School pupil James said: “On New Years’s Eve last year we all decided to do something big for charity. The Anthony Nolan Trust was chosen because my brother died of leukaemia and it was something I felt strongly about and the other guys agreed.

After two months of training every ever weekend, they completed the challenge on Saturday August 24.

“It was a lot of work, cycling to and from Brighton from London every weekend for two months and also some hill training.

“Some people who told me in confidence that France was flat obviously haven’t cycled there. We were doing 110 miles a day.”

The training programme was not without its challenges either.

James’s mum Tricia, said: “In the intervening period from idea to actuality Richard was knocked off his bike and ended up in casualty, James had his bike stolen, there were endless punctures.

“It was an amazing achievement and any further contributions to the Anthony Nolan Trust would be greatly appreciated. This is a worthwhile charity and the lads chose it in memory of James’s brother Neil.

“They had raised £3,500 and still hadn’t even cycled for five minutes.”

James said they did not imagine raising more that amount of money.

“Everybody - family, friends, work colleagues - was extremely generous. We had people giving £100 or £200 donations.

“That was the single motivator that got us through those 14 per cent gradient hills.

“I probably thought we’d raise near £1,000, but everybody came through because we were out of action every weekend for training, so everyone was aware of the challenge.”

They are still collecting donations. Anyone wanting to sponsor them can do so at http://www.justgiving.com/London2Paris4AnthonyNolan