Crowds gathered to welcome Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Greenaway, and his team of 12 endurance cyclists, back to Nottingham after a 1,400 mile bike ride.
At a Community Cycle day held on Sunday 4 September, at Nottingham Lakeside Arts, there was thunderous applause for the Life Cycle 6 team who navigated the four compass points of mainland Britain to raise vital funds for breast cancer research.
The team braved wet and windy weather, broken bike frames, steep hills and saddle sores on their mammoth cycle around the country. Starting from Lizard Point in Cornwall, they traversed rough terrain and traffic to reach Lowestoft Ness, the most easterly point of the country, before heading north and west to Ardnamurchan Point. After a gruelling 16 days in the saddle and climbing over 53,000ft, the team eventually reached Dunnet Head in north Scotland.
To help keep the team motivated, women and men around the country shared their personal experiences of breast cancer through the team’s Life Cycle Miles facebook group. These moving stories, plus a committed Life Cycle support team armed with spare tyres and high-energy snacks, helped the team stay on track as they racked up the miles each day.
After finishing the ride Sir David said: “The other riders can speak for themselves, but I found it exhausting. That’s partly because of the distance, partly because of the terrain and partly because of the fact that I’m not getting any younger. But we all made it back safe and sound.
“One of the things that kept us going was the cause, which has been genuinely inspiring for us all. We rode in honour of a number of people affected by breast cancer each day and their deeply personal stories brought home why we were riding in a very meaningful way.”
Cycling alongside the Vice-Chancellor was world-leading cancer researcher, Professor John Robertson, who is responsible for developing the world’s first blood test to detect early stage lung cancer and is now looking to replicate this test for breast cancer.
Professor Robertson, along with other expert breast cancer researchers based in the University’s Nottingham and Derby sites, will receive all funds raised through the Life Cycle campaign, helping progress innovative new research to detect the disease early, stop it spreading and develop targeted new treatments.
For the last six years the Vice-Chancellor has taken part in Life Cycle along with Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Karen Cox, Professor Nick Miles OBE, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement, and Steve Wright, University Chauffeur. Paul Barrett, also a University Chauffeur, has been a key part of the support team for each of the rides.
The first event took place in 2011 when the team cycled from John O’Groats to Land’s End to raise money for palliative and end of life care. Similar challenges followed each year and have seen the riders clock up almost 7,000 miles each, eaten an estimated 336 chocolate bars (each!) and raise more than £2.8 million for worthy causes.
This year’s herculean effort, alongside the generous contributions of all Life Cycle 6 bakers, fundraisers and walkers, and the 600 cyclists who joined our Life Cycle community sponsored bike ride at the start of September, have all combined to raise a staggering £550,000 for our breast cancer research - over half-way towards our £1 million target.
The cycling may be over but our fundraising efforts continue. It’s not too late to sponsor the Life Cycle team at Just Giving, or to take on your own fundraising challenge. Every penny received will go direct to our breast cancer researchers.
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK for research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.
Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…