Ex-Horsham football favourte’s charity bike mission

JPCT 06-06-12 S12231596A Mark Hawthorne, ex-Horsaham YMCA football boss who cyclined from Lands End to John O'Groats in aid of Action Research -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 06-06-12 S12231596A Mark Hawthorne, ex-Horsaham YMCA football boss who cyclined from Lands End to John O'Groats in aid of Action Research -photo by Steve Cobb
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Former Horsham player and ex-YMCA manager Mark Hawthorne is recovering from an 800-mile charity bike ride

Hawthorne, who was Horsham’s player of the year in 2006, and was a first team coach with the Hornets until moving to YM last season, has raised more than £2,000 for Horsham-based charity Action Medical Research after he completed the End To End cycling ride, from Land’s End to Jon O’Groats.

He, and 70 other fundraisers, completed the 874 mile ride in nine days, after he had taken up cycling as a hobby.

Hawthorne said: “I was looking to do these type of challenges anyway, so when I realised it was for a Horsham charity I had to do it. I thoroughly enjoyed it and met some really good people.”

The End to End route started at Lands End before sweeping through the West Country, through South Wales, Shrewsbury, Lancashire, Loch Lomond and Scottish Highlands before reaching their distnation at British mainland’s northernmost point.

“There was a sense of relief when we finished, that we got there in one piece,” Mark added. “There were a few scary moments, but it was worthwhile.”

The extensive training required for such a greulling challenge contributed to his reasons for quitting the managers’ post at YM last season.

“I didn’t speak to the players too much about it, but those I told thought I was mad,” Mark added.

“I thought I was crazy once I started.”

Action Medical Research, based in North Parade, is dedicated to funding research to help reduce rates of premature birth, prevent pregnancy complications, and find the best ways to treat sick and vulnerable babies.

Mark added: “I want to say a huge thank you to all the staff there.

“They have worked so hard and organised this brilliantly, it was appreciated by everyone on the ride.”

Jo Pickard, head of national events at Action Medical Research said: “It’s a huge event fpr us and raises around £20,000 each year, and that’s money we would not get from elsewhere.”

To take part in next year’s event, visit www.action.org.uk/end2end.