AN AFTER-EVENT party to celebrate the success of a fund-raising cycle around the whole Tour de France route was held last week at Bromsgrove Sporting’s Rousler Bar.
The ride, which took place in July in aid of Cure Leukaemia, was led by former England footballer and Barnt Green resident Geoff Thomas.
He was joined on the night by Bromsgrove and Redditch Athletics Club’s Helen Russell, who also successfully completed the 2,100-mile Tour de France course in the One Day Ahead challenge.
The ITV4 Tour de France commentator Ned Boulting compered the evening with a special question-and-answer session with Mr Thomas who shared his experiences of riding the Tour de France route, his time as a professional footballer and his battle with blood cancer.
He also ran an auction of items donated by sports stars, including West Brom shot-stopper Ben Foster, notorious Tour competitor Lance Armstrong and local Team GB cycling star Jess Varnish.
The sell-out event, organised by Ms Russell, attracted more than 120 people and raised more than £3,000 on the evening with more money still coming in.
Speaking at the event, Mr Thomas confirmed there would be a 2016 One Day Ahead challenge, which has already raised a significant amount of interest.
After the event, Ms Russell, who went to school in Redditch, said: “The evening was a great success and Geoff and I are really grateful to everyone who came along, got involved in the auction and donated raffle prizes.
“The money raised will go towards funding clinical trials and research nurses at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.”
During the ride, Ms Russell crashed on Stage 2, suffering a nasty gash in her leg which required ten stitches. However, she bravely soldiered on, successfully completing the gruelling event.
The One Day Ahead team have so far raised more than £650,000 and there is still time to donate.
Visit www.justgiving.com/Geoff-Thomas-2015 or www.justgiving.com/HelenRussell-LeTour to pledge funds.