'Four Amigos’ gear up for nine-day charity cycling challenge

Current and ex-West Midlands firefighters are gearing up to blaze a trail in aid of charities close to their hearts when they set off on a nine-day cycling challenge this weekend.

From left, Steve Horsley, Pete Haslam, Steve Nutt and Richard Beech
From left, Steve Horsley, Pete Haslam, Steve Nutt and Richard Beech

Peter Haslam and Steve Horsley, from Sutton Coldfield, Richard Beech, from Tamworth, and Steve Nutt, from Pelsall, will set off on a 1,000-mile ride between Lands End to John O’Groats on Saturday.

The friends, who call themselves ‘The Four Amigos’ are saddling up to collectively raise money for Warwick’s Molly Ollys as well as The Firefighters Charity, Cyclists For Cancer and The Royal Marines.

It’s particularly heartfelt for 49-year-old dad-of-three and ex-Marine Peter whose family has experienced first hand the valuable work of two of the charities involved.

Peter’s son Ted has been left confined to a wheelchair following a battle with a stage four cancer called Burkitts Lymphoma, which was diagnosed at the age of three.

Ted in hospital aged three

He said: “The first sign of a problem was extreme pain in his lower back.

"By the time he was diagnosed after eight days it was too late to save his spine because the tumour was doubling in size every 25 hours and by this time it was 10cm long. Turns out he also had a small golf ball size tumour behind his eyes.

“Ted was determined and stoical throughout cancer treatment. The hardest part was when myself and Jo were told that the treatment wasn't working and that we should consider palliative care. This thankfully turned out to be a mistake but this period was the toughest time we have ever faced.”

Ted, the youngest of three children to Peter and Jo, was given the all-clear just before his fourth birthday and following nine months of intensive chemotherapy and two months in Stoke Mandeville Spinal Centre.

Ted received a handbike courtesy of Cyclists For Charity as well as soft play equipment from Molly Ollys, something the family says made a huge difference following his treatment.

Ted today aged seven

Molly Olly’s Wishes was established in 2011 following the death of Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw’s eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer.

The Warwickshire-based charity, which this year marks its 10th anniversary, works to support children with terminal or life-threatening illnesses and their families and help with their emotional wellbeing as well as grant wishes and donate therapeutic toys and books to both children directly and to hospitals throughout the UK.

Rachel said: “These guys have a big challenge on their hands – cycling 100 miles is not going to be easy, but we wish them all the best of luck and we are very grateful that Richard chose Molly Ollys as his charity to support. The funds he raises will help us to put smiles on the faces of children with life-threatening illnesses.”

Jo Haslam said: “Molly Ollys is an amazing charity that gives so much to children who are living with serious illness. "It also gave us the opportunity to meet and share experiences with other families going through a similar experience.”

The men, who are all experienced cyclists, have been busy clocking up plenty of training miles for the big ride this weekend and will be supported by drivers following in a West Midlands Fire Service minibus stocked with essential kit, spare bikes and food supplies.

Richard Beech, 54, said: “We have all been riding for at least 15 years and regularly ride at weekends. In terms of training we have have been increasing distances over the last few months so know we are capable of riding well over 100 miles in a day but riding that distance every day for nine days is another matter. Saddle sores, wind, rain and hills are all part of the challenge.”

To support The Four Amigos on their cycling challenge visit justgiving.com/team/AmigosLEJOGRide

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