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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Record numbers complete Cumbria cycle challenge to remember crash brothers

A record number of people took part in a charity cycling challenge to remember two brothers killed in a road accident.

Townend ride out photo
Riders on the third annual challenge

More than 250 people competed in the third annual Team Townend Challenge, set up to celebrate the legacy of Christian Townend, 29, and his 21-year-old brother, Nicholas, known as Niggy, from Cockermouth, who died in a collision in December 2010.

Their brother Robin said the entry emphasised how many people knew and respected the brothers.

It is hoped £15,000 has been raised this year to add to the £27,000 from the last two events.

All the money will go to RoadPeace, a charity for road crash victims and their families.

Robin, 26, of Brigham Road, said: “It is such a fitting tribute to Christian and Niggy and it makes me happy to see so many people come along and support it.

“They were both such popular guys and everybody was devastated to hear what happened two years ago. We are glad to see this turn into such a successful event.

“It has been an exceptionally good turnout.”

The challenge saw riders tackle either a 22-mile or 42-mile route that started and finished at Loweswater Village Hall and took in Newlands and Whinlatter passes.

Robin did not take part this year after injuring his shoulder but his brother Richard completed the long route in under two-and-a-half hours.

Richard, 29, said: “There has been a fantastic turn out and this challenge couldn’t be a better one to remember our brothers by.

“Nothing seemed more appropriate and they would have liked the fact that everybody could get involved and that it is not just for the hard core cyclist.”

The event saw plenty of local support, including around 40 members of Honister 92 cycling club, plus riders from Yorkshire, Manchester and London.

Richard added: “We started planning the first of these events in early 2011 and it has come a long way since then.”

Friends of the brothers who took part in the challenge were also pleased to see the turnout to support the event.

Michael Howarth, 24, of Blindcrake, completed the short route in about one-an-a-half hours. He said: “I was best mates with Niggy and we used to go travelling together. They loved biking and there was no better way to show our support and raise money for a really good cause.

“I wasn’t able to do it last year and I am absolutely gobsmacked by how many people have come out.”

Joe Sharkey, 25, lived across the road from the brothers and he took on the long route completing it in three hours 26 minutes.

He said: “It is what Christian and Niggy would have wanted and it is brilliant to see it getting bigger every year. I decided to make the step up after doing the short route.”

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