NEARLY 800 cyclists took to Dorset’s country roads today to raise funds for charity in the 26th annual Macmillan Dorset Bike Ride.

The more experienced pedallers embarked from Corfe Mullen recreation ground at 8am on Sunday on the 100-mile route through Blandford, Wimborne and nearly as far as Sherborne before circling back to Poole.

Others set off on 60, 48, 28 and 25-mile routes throughout the morning, taking in Charborough Park and the Stour and Winterborne valleys.

Last year the event raised around £80,000 for the cancer charity and this year organisers hope to reach a similar total.

Ride organiser Peter Smith-Nicholls said: “We are a bit down on numbers this year as some French people decided to run another cycling event in Yorkshire today and I know a few people have gone up to that.

“But we are very pleased with the turnout and we are getting increasing numbers of people taking part in the 100-mile ride as the sport becomes increasingly popular.

“We get all sorts of people coming here from all over the country, from young families to people who go out riding every weekend.

“Some people haven’t dug the bike out of the shed since this time last year.

“For many people it is about raising funds for Macmillan and it is the charity’s biggest event in Dorset.

“People come to remember those they have lost and for some it is part of the grieving process.”

The event, sponsored by Sunseeker, was started by veteran Macmillan cyclist Gerry Robinson of Broadstone, who, celebrating his 81st birthday on the day, has been taking part for many years and has raised more than £10,000.

Having beaten prostate cancer himself, he said he had lost several friends to the disease. I just feel an obligation to do the ride, because Macmillan Cancer Support have been so involved with all of them,” he said.

Among those taking part was David Edgar, from Dorchester, whose partner Carmel Meaney died of lung cancer last year. He was joined by his daughter Fay and granddaughter Beth.

“My partner had a love-hate relationship with cycling and we support Macmillan whenever we can,” he said.

“This is our second time here. There is a great atmosphere here and everyone is very friendly.”

The riders were supported by mechanics from Primera, a massage team from the Anglo European Clinic of Chiropractic, and refreshments laid on by Macmillan volunteers.


• Bikers rev up to help hospital

ENGINES revved and roared as more than 100 bikers set off from Weymouth to raise money for a life-saving children’s ward.

Bikers from across Dorset rode from Lodmoor Country Park in Weymouth to Itchen Valley Country Park in Southampton on Sunday in a charity ride to say thank you to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Southampton General Hospital.

Bikes of all shapes and sizes lined up before the race, from Harley-Davidson’s to sports bikes and trikes, there were even some riders in fancy dress with a chicken and Bat Girl being among the crowd.

The 120-participant ride was organised by John Bramble, from Chickerell, and his daughter Anne Allen, from Poole, as a thank you to the unit for helping Anne’s daughter Sophie Davidge when she was born with a heart problem. The condition meant that the two main arteries in Sophie’s heart —the pulmonary artery and the aorta—were switched in position, meaning too little oxygen was carried in the blood from the heart to the rest of her body., Little Sophie underwent open heart surgery at eight days old to put the condition right. Doctors also had to correct 10 holes in her heart that they also found.

Sophie and her family welcomed the bikers in on Sunday morning and had been busy making bracelets to be handed out for the £5 ride fee.

John Bramble said he was nervous before the ride, as it was a big responsibility leading the ride. He said: “I’m absolutely amazed at the amount of people that turned up. We only expected maybe 50 bikes. We thought if we could raise £500 we would be happy, but so far we have raised £1,070 just with the raffle.”

This was added to the £5 each from the riders and in total they raised £2,107.

Mr Bramble said a huge thank you to all the bikers and supporters.

He said: “Thanks everyone so much for the response and the turn out. Thank you so much.”

Anne Allen said she was delighted by the turn out. She said: “It’s lovely because PICU can continue helping out families in the situation we were in.”

Wendy Bramble, John’s wife, thanked everyone for their support. She gave a message to the PICU staff: “Keep up the good work and thank you for all that you do.”

Rider Lisa Hindle from Weymouth was wearing a Bat cape and T-shirt for the event. She said: “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. They put so much effort into it – it’s brilliant.”

Fellow rider Lorna McKenna said: “I’m supporting this because of Sophie. It’s a wonderful cause.”

Sophie’s family would like to thank everyone for their support including support vehicle South Coast, Poole Tesco, Lodmoor Country Park, Itchen Valley Country Park and everyone that has helped and supported them.

You can still donate by visiting the Just Giving page at


• Pets battle it out to be top dog

CANINES of all shapes and sizes battled it out to be crowned top dog at a Weymouth dog show.

The Town Green champion dog show and family fun day on the Marsh, saw hundreds of pooches and their owners take to the ring in classes ranging from pedigree to crossbreed, obedience classes and novelty classes.

Dogs of all different breeds competed to be the fastest sausage-eater class and oddest couple, while both dogs and owners dressed up for the fancy dress class.

Those gaining first to fourth place in each class got a rosette and there were lots of trade stalls, a bar and competitions to keep the crowds entertained.

This year marks the seventh year of the show and was supported by Fielding and Cumber veterinary surgery.

Organiser Mary Larkin, celebrated her birthday on the same day as the show, she said they had changed the lay-out this year and only had two showing rings instead of four.

She said: “We were really pleased with the turn out.”

She added a thank you to Fielding and Cumber adding: “They have supported us since year one.”

Ian and Sandra Long from Weymouth, brought their ‘princess in training,’ four-month old pug Lily to the show. She came third in her puppy class.

Mrs Long said they were new to the event, adding: “We came down to see what goes on and meet the other dogs.”

Mr Long said: “We are always impressed how people with dogs are very friendly.”

Christine Smith from Weymouth brought her Japanese Chin, Kiko, to the show and he competed in the most handsome dog class.

She said they had really enjoyed the day, she added: “It’s really such a lovely thing to do. It’s good for the dogs.”

Claire Alison and her pomeranian Archie won a rosette in the best rescue class and qualified for the Buckham Fair.

Sandra Shearman’s dog Lily won the first place in the terrier classes. She said: “I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t think I was going to win.”