A TOTAL of 23 riders set out today on the St Anne’s Bike Ride, crossing England from Half Moon Bay near Morecambe to Spurn Point in Hull, to raise money for the St Anne’s Fulshaw Primary School PTA.

This year there are more riders than ever before, supported by Sean the Van, following closely behind with supplies and spare parts.

The team includes six husband and wife couples, the school’s chairman of governors, co-chairman and treasurer of the PTA, as well as five former parents whose children are now at Wilmslow High School.

Riders meet all associated costs of the ride themselves, including accommodation, food and the support van, so every penny raised goes to support the school.

Some riders have even invested in new bikes especially for the ride.

This year the school is aiming to finish resurfacing its Peace Garden, and has already completed two-thirds of the work using funds jointly raised by the PTA, the school and Co-op Community Fund.

With any additional funds raised after the resurfacing is complete, they will start saving for some new large outdoor play equipment.

The school’s previous climbing frame was installed on the current headteacher’s first day at St Anne’s Fulshaw in 2004.

It was much loved by the children, but was dismantled in January as it had reached the end of its lifespan.

In previous years the riders have tackled other coast to coast routes, and some riders have also taken on the Land’s End to John O’Groats ride to raise money for the PTA.

Two years ago the school was able to use the funds raised by previous bike rides, along with donations from parents and Egg Homes to build a new library, which was opened as part of the school’s 140th anniversary celebrations.

This year’s training rides have been challenging from the start, as the coast to coast route is 190 miles with 7,000 feet of climbing over three days.

Riders have been out training at weekends and during the week since mid-winter, and have frequently pedalled into the Peak District, west to Delamere and as far north as Wigan, as well as doing individual rides during the holidays to keep the miles up.

Headteacher Clare Daniel said: “We are so grateful for the amazing support of the St Anne’s community in taking on another bike ride, especially one as tough as this.

“Our PTA do amazing work fundraising throughout the year which helps the school to pay for opportunities and items we could not afford on our own.

“Our children benefit from a specialist music teacher, subsidised coach costs to the theatre and other venues, Education City to support learning at home, and large donations to support Science Week and Global Week all via donations from the PTA, as well as donations to each class and the school on a termly basis.

“It says so much about the caring and generous nature of our school community that we have parents whose children have long moved up to the high school who are keen to continue supporting and fundraising for the children currently in the school.

“I am so proud of everyone taking part and will be tweeting their journey at @stannesfulshaw #StAnnesBikeRide for the three days they are en-route.

“Our donation page can be found at mydonate.bt.com/events/halfmoon/460617, and we have already raised over 70 per cent of our target.

“Riders are always really encouraged by watching the total raised during the ride. We are very lucky to be able to apply for match funding of up to £1,000 from Barclays as one of our riders is an employee.

“If anybody would like to sponsor our riders, or know of any other businesses who would keen to support us, any contributions would be very gratefully received.

“Our riders have been kept in tip top shape already by Beyond Physio, and Immortal Gym are providing all the cyclists with goodie bags and a free month’s membership too. Huge thanks to both for their incredible generosity and support.”