Concert clash causes Cycle Together Sandringham date switch

Riders leave Park House on the 'Cycle Together' event.
Riders leave Park House on the 'Cycle Together' event.
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A major West Norfolk charity cycling event has been rescheduled because of a date clash with music legend Lionel Richie.

The American star is due to perform in front of thousands of fans at Holkham Hall on Sunday, June 24.

But that coincided with the original date for the annual Cycle Together Sandringham event, several of whose routes pass through the estate.

And organisers have now confirmed the ride, which has raised tens of thousands of pounds for the Park House Hotel since it was set up in 2013, will now take place three weeks later on Sunday, July 15 instead.

Park House fundraiser Phil Davies said organisers had been advise not to run the event as scheduled, because of the expected additional traffic attending the concert.

He said: “My first reaction was ‘On your bike, Lionel.’”

Holkham is a key point on four of the five routes, which stretch from 10 to 150 miles, available to participants this year and houses one of the feeding stations along the course.

Mr Davies said: “The estate would have done everything possible to help us.

“When we told the guys at Leonard Cheshire Disability (the charity which owns the hotel), they got on to British Cycling and their own insurers and the advice, very strongly, was they could not endorse that route on that day.

“It would have been a massive undertaking to change the routes, but we’re fortunate we were able to find a new date.”

Riders who have already entered the event are being contacted and will either have their entries transferred to the new date or have their fees refunded, though organisers say relatively few entrants will have signed up so far.

Around £15,000 was raised for the hotel, which offers respite breaks for disabled people and their carers, during the 2017 ride, with the proceeds being used to develop a new outdoor games area in the hotel’s grounds.

A new minibus, wheelchair-friendly paths and an accessible activities area have also been funded in previous years.

The new date is the same as both Wimbledon’s men’s singles final and football’s World Cup final in Russia.

But Mr Davies said he was confident that entry numbers would not be affected by the switch.

He said: “We’ve had it on Wimbledon finals day before and families are done before then. It’s only the hardcore people (riding the longer routes).”

To sign up, or for more details about the event, visit www.leonardcheshire.org/
cycletogether. Entry fees are between £10 and £35 for adults or £5 for under-16s.