ABOUT 100 cyclists got into the saddle in the Vale of Evesham last weekend and pushed their pedals to help raise vital funds for two local emergency response organisations.

They came from far and wide to take part in the annual Blossom Trail Bikeaway on Sunday April 15 and between them clocked up no less than 5,111 miles – about the same as a one-way trip to China.

The cyclists were invited to opt for one of three routes – 11 miles, 27 miles and 58 miles – all around the many miles of blossom trails in the Vale and they were sent on their way from Hampton Ferry, Evesham, by ceramics expert and President of Pershore St John Ambulance Henry Sandon.

Wychavon Tourism Officer Angela Taylor said the numbers were down on last year due to the unpredictable weather but the event is still expected to raise around £1,000 for the Pershore Unit of St John Ambulance and the Vale of Evesham Community First Responders.

Mrs Taylor said: “We have had a very late spring and the blossom is normally well out for the bikeaway. This year it was a bit sporadic.

“We had a smaller number of pre-entries for the event and I think people were just waiting to see what the weather would be like. We had about 100 people enter on the day.”

She believes the weather resulted in a fewer number of families signing up for the ride, however there was a good age range from young cyclists up to elderly enthusiasts.

And one particular cyclist who will never forget last year’s event turned up but without his bike. Mrs Taylor explained that one of the cyclists last year had a cardiac arrest during the event but was helped by other riders and was taken to hospital.

“The man who had the cardiac arrest popped along to see us. He’s not cycling yet but it was good to see him.”

Tony Haines, Chairman of Bikeaway Ventures which organised the event, said: “We are truly indebted to everyone who gave up their valuable time and grateful thanks to all at Hampton Ferry who made the event possible.”