Boost for charities at presentation evening

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Tens of thousands of pounds were donated to vital charities by organisers of an annnual bike ride in Bury St Edmunds.

The St Edmunds Wheel Trust handed out £25,000 to good causes at their 15th presentation evening on Thursday night - the majority of which was raised through the popular Bury Bike Ride.

During the event at Denny Bros conference suite, in Kempson Way, two trustees also presented money collected to celebrate their 60th birthdays while the Bury Free Press recognised two causes through the Helping Hand Appeal.

Trustee Ian Turner said: “Whatever we raise in a year it benefits a lot of local charities so whatever we do we’re happy with it.”

The charities to benefit from the bike ride were the East Anglian Air Ambulance and East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices.

Money was given to the Gatehouse to go towards volunteer expenses for their new Bury St Edmunds food bank, children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent, Upbeat, which supports those with heart problems.

Their main beneficiaries were St Nicholas Hospice Care and the Bury Free Press, which distributed the cash on the night through the Helping Hand appeal.

The Helping Hand recipients were the Fornham All Saints Community Skatepark and the Lawshall and Cockfield Girls under 15s football club.

The £34,800 skatepark plans were drawn up after the vilage parish council received a petition from 48 young people requesting the facility.

So far they are £10,000 short but other funding applications are in the pipeline, which could potentially raise about £3,000.

The football club will use the money towards a new kit.

Meanwhile, trustee Steve Laycock donated about £1,400 to the Rainbow Ward at West Suffolk Hospital, which was amassed through a fund-raiser at a party to celebrate his 60th birthday.

It will be used to buy monitors which people can borrow for children with breathing problems.

Mr Turner raised £9,000 for the hospital’s neo-natal unit through a 130 mile cycle ride to Holt with 21 friends, two five mile runs at Haughley Park and Nowton Park, completed the three peaks challenge with 17 friends and held a charity auction in Thurston.

The Trust gave an extra £1,000 to his cause and the money will be spent on six special cot warmers.

His wife Claire has also been knitting clothing for premature babies.

Trophies were handed out to Robert Stewart and David Pryke Motors and his team from Clare for the individual and team respectively that raised the most money through the bike ride.

Since it launched the ride in 1998, St Edmunds Wheel has given away £195,000 to charity.

n Bury Challenge Walks, which joined forces with Bury Bike Ride, raised about £1,000, which will be divided between the Royal British Legion, the Soldiers’ Charity, the RAF Benevolent Fund and the Royal Anglian Benevolent Fund. A prize was presented to Paul Youngman for the most money raised in sponsorship.