Clitheroe is twinned with Rivesaltes in the south of France and there are regular visits between the two towns, usually involving light hearted football matches, spearheaded by the regulars of the Wagon & Horses pub who style themselves The French Connection.
This April’s visit by the Clitheroe contingent was slightly different in that two regulars – Roger Hargreaves and Pete Parkes – cycled the 1,000 miles there, taking about two weeks to do the trip and raising money for various charities including the North West Air Ambulance, Riding for the Disabled, Crossroads Care and my Cancer Research UK fund.
They had a celebration on Saturday night in the form of a black-tie ball at the Stirk House, Gisburn, which I attended with Val, Frank & Bern (who drove the motorhome on the penultimate week of my ride). A good time was had by all, although I was a bit embarrassed because every time the compere mentioned Roger & Pete’s ride, he compared it – not very flatteringly - to my 4,500-mile Round-the-Coast bike ride! Roger has a great sense of humour and wasn’t in the least bothered.
After the meal it was time to present the cheques and I was thrilled to receive £1,000 for Cancer Research UK. So a thousand thanks to the French Connection!
On the following day, Sunday, it was my turn to have a post-ride ‘bash’ – this time a barbecue in our back garden. Clearly, I don’t share the same style or panâche as the French Connection guys! On the guest list were supporters, family, neighbours and motorhome crews; amazingly the weather held off, apart from the high winds, but they weren’t a problem, fortunately.
(Drinks were obtained from D Byrnes of Clitheroe who provide an excellent sale or return service for such occasions – Byrnes’s wine shop, in Clitheroe town centre, is legendary, and if you haven’t visited it yet you ought to put it on your ‘to do’ list.)
Thanks go to Tony Spencer and Frank who manned the barbecue, and to everyone who came and had such a good time – it was an excellent way to celebrate the success of the ride.
The total amount raised for Cancer Research UK, including money pledged from the Rock at the Castle event, has now gone over the £25,000 mark and there is still the Backridge Autumn Fayre to come the weekend after next. That’s comfortably above my original target – which for a long time I thought was over-optimistic! You can still donate if you wish by following the links on this blog.