Team inspired by East Cambs man stabbed in London in 2008 raise £116,000 by tackling mammoth mountain cycling challenge

The Ride2Recovery team in the Pyrenees

The Ride2Recovery team in the Pyrenees - Credit: Archant

A team of 50 cyclists, inspired by an East Cambs man who suffered permanent spinal damage in a stabbing seven years ago, have raised £116,000 by cycling along the Pyrenees.

The challenge, known as Ride2Recovery, saw the team start in Biarritz, France, and end up in Barcelona, Spain, six days later, for the charity Aspire. So far, they have raised £116,217.51.

The challenge was inspired by Oliver Hemsley, from Sutton, who was left fighting for his life after an unprovoked attack in Shoreditch, East London, in 2008.

Oliver, known as Oli, had been studying fashion at Central St Martin’s School of Art and was walking to an off-licence with a friend when he was set upon by a gang of youths and stabbed in the back, damaging his spine.

Following the attack on Oli, who was left with permanent spinal damage, a boy aged 15 at the time was jailed for 10 years he pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent.

Oli’s brother Will, and his friend Nick McClelland, set up Ride2Recovery in 2009 and the group raised £100,000 by cycling from London to the French Alps.

They followed that event in 2012 with a second fund-raising feat, as 24 cyclists tackled the Alps, cycling from Morzine to Nice raising £80,000 for charity.

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Brian Carlin, Aspire’s CEO, who took part in this year’s ride, said: “Every eight hours someone is paralysed by a spinal cord injury. Aspire exists because there is no cure for this catastrophic injury.

“Astonishing fundraising events such as the Ride2Recovery Challenge provide essential funds to ensure we can continue to provide our vital services.”

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