Viking Challenge raises £26,000 on its 20th anniversary

The start of the Viking Challenge 2014.
The start of the Viking Challenge 2014.
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More than 1400 cyclists took part in an off-road cycle event that organisers hope will raise over £26,000 for a village school and a charity.

The annual Viking Challenge, which saw cyclists taking on a choice of three routes last Sunday, started and finished at Redmile CE Primary School.

To mark the 20th anniversary of the event, a 100km route was also included, in addition to the usual 30km and 50km circuits, for riders keen to push themselves further.

Thirty seven of the riders took on the 100k challenge, while three intrepid participants completed the 30km challenge on unicycles.

This year’s event was started by Anna Joyce who had the inspiration for The Viking Challenge in order to keep the school open 20 years ago.

Kirsten Hughes, chairman of the Viking Challenge committee, said: “We couldn’t have done this without the support of all our volunteers and sponsors.

“Special thanks to Viking Signs who helped ensure the riders didn’t lose their way. As usual, the riders loved the refreshment stops, a welcome sight for everyone, made possible by cakes baked by parents of children at the school and generous donations from local people and businesses.

“A big thank you also to Shockwaves, Cyclesport and I Love Puds.”

Julie Hopkins, headteacher at Redmile School, added: “I would like to express special thanks to everyone who helped organise this amazing event, especially our Viking Challenge Committee who work all year round on a voluntary basis to be ready for the big day.

“The money raised has such a lasting and positive impact on both our school and partner charity. I am absolutely delighted that the event continues to be such a success and so widely supported by our local and wider community.

“It was lovely to meet Anna Joyce, the founder of the Viking Challenge, who returned to the school after 20 years to start the event. It’s incredible to think that she came up with the idea of the challenge to raise money to keep the school open as it only had 14 pupils on roll. Now it is a thriving, outstanding school with over 70 pupils enjoying such fabulous facilities. Thank you Viking challengers from everyone here.”

Money raised by the challenge through entry fees and sponsorship money will go to the school and its charity partner PASIC (Parents Association for Seriously Ill Children).