Cyclists’ gruelling 280-mile bike ride raises funds for Jo Cox Foundation

·3 min read

Seventy mixed-ability cyclists have raised around £12,000 for the Jo Cox Foundation after cycling 280 miles from Yorkshire to south London.

The cyclists set off on the trail, dubbed the Jo Cox Way, from West Yorkshire on Wednesday, and after encountering gruelling weather, a 3am wake-up call from a fire alarm at a hotel and multiple bike punctures, arrived in Flat Iron Square just after 1.30pm on Sunday.

Jo Cox Way cyclists
The cyclists at the end of their gruelling ride (Steve Parsons/PA)

Greeted by new Labour MP for Batley and Spen and Jo Cox’s sister, Kim Leadbeater, her parents, Gordon and Jean Leadbeater, as well as family and supporters, the cyclists arrived at O’Meara Street to the sound of drums from performance group UDM Samba and rode under a flower archway to the finish line.

The event was being held in co-ordination with the Great Get Together Bankside, an annual community event which features music, street performances, stalls and a dog show.

Ms Leadbeater took part in the first leg of the journey from Batley and Spen to Buxton, Derbyshire, on Wednesday and got the train down with her parents on Sunday.

She told the PA news agency: “This event has been going for a few years and was set up by a wonderful businessman from North Yorkshire, Sarfraz Mian. I found out about it a year afterwards and said ‘This is amazing, can I get involved?’ so we now do it through the Jo Cox Foundation and through Jo’s family.

Jo Cox Way cyclists
Ms Leadbeater hugs a cyclist after they arrived at the finish line (Steve Parsons/PA)

“The cyclists have travelled 280 miles with pure grit and determination, and it’s the end of it today, so it’s a really special day.”

Ms Leadbeater added that nearly £12,000 has been raised for the Jo Cox Foundation as a result of the ride.

“It’s not just about raising money though – it’s about the event itself,” she said.

“It’s about uniting people from different backgrounds and different cycling abilities. We’ve got road cyclists, BMX bikers and all sorts of different cyclists.”

She added: “It’s really emotional, the start of the ride was really emotional because we had people gathering in what was Jo’s constituency, where I live and where my mum and dad live, and the end is very emotional as well as we have a really good relationship with Bankside.”

The Jo Cox Way cyclists, a group of 70 mixed ability cyclists, arrive at Flat Iron Square, in Southwark, London, following their five-day journey from West Yorkshire
The Jo Cox Way cyclists arrive at Flat Iron Square in Southwark, London, following their five-day journey from West Yorkshire (Steve Parsons/PA)

Friends Ghafar Azam, 48, a police officer, and Keith Halliwell, 55, an engineer, both from Batley, took part in the cycle ride for the first time this year.

Mr Azam told PA: “It was a fantastic finish to what this event is all about. We met people from all over the UK, different levels of cyclists and everyone has worked hard to get here.

“We got invited to do this a few years ago. It was hard work but we wanted to raise funds for the foundation and make people aware of the Jo Cox Way ride.

“Jo was our MP and she was a lovely lady, so it’s our way to give back to the community.”

Mr Halliwell said: “It’s also bringing communities together. There’s a variety of folks here today from different backgrounds and a fantastic spirit.”

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