All4MND cycling team from Ipswich to be joined by rugby union star Freddie Burns as they cycle across UK to raise awareness around motor neurone disease
A former England rugby union player will join a group of 33 current and former Suffolk residents in a cycle ride across the UK, raising awareness around the issue of motor neurone disease (MND) in sport.
The members of All4MND mostly met while playing rugby together.
Over four days – between September 12 and September 16 – they hope to cover 400 miles, starting at Ipswich Rugby Club and finishing up at Melrose in Scotland.
Their aim is to raise £400,000 for the 4Ed campaign and the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation.
The 4Ed campaign was established by Gloucester Rugby Club after former player Ed Slater was diagnosed with MND.
Meanwhile, the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation honours the legacy of Scottish rugby legend Doddie Weir, who died in 2022 after a five-year battle with the disease.
Both initiatives have a focus on MND.
For a 100-mile stretch of the journey, between Bury St Edmunds to Leicester Tigers Rugby Club, the team will be joined by former England player Freddie Burns.
Organiser Oli Hall said that the ride was bringing together people with a wide variety of fitness backgrounds – and some have little previous cycling experience.
He told SuffolkNews: “We’ve got guys [current Ipswich residents] from New Zealand doing it, we’ve got guys flying in from France, we’ve got some guys coming from the West Country.
“We’re bringing back together old friends to do it.”
Many of the stopovers along the 400-mile route have significance to the ride’s chosen cause.
For instance, Melrose Rugby Club – where the cyclists intend to finish up – was Doddie Weir’s former club.
In a bid to meet the formidable fundraising goal, the participants have sought out supporters in unconventional places.
Mr Hall tells of one cyclist who received tens of thousands of pounds in pledges from Indian businesspeople, after speaking at a corporate event there.
So far, the team have raised around £100,000 – a quarter of their overall target.
Their JustGiving page is currently accepting donations from the public.