Richmond Heavies saving lives cycling across the country

Ten cyclists from the Richmond Heavies Foundation have completed a charity bike ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats raising nearly £70,000. 

The mammoth ride saw the group cover 980 miles in the space of just nine days, with the motivation behind the ride being close to Heavies’ hearts. 

The foundation was conceived in 2018 after the tragic passing of three men with close ties to the Heavies in the space of just six weeks. 

The lives of Stephen Fairn, 51, Stewart Barlow, 43, and Ian Williams, 27, were sadly taken far too soon. 

Neil Darke, a trustee, said the RHF was formed as a direct result of the hardship suffered by the Heavies in 2018. 

“A few of the Richmond Heavies sat down having a tearful beer and thought we should be doing something rather than sitting and moping around.” 

The RHF were hoping proceeds from the bike ride would provide 30 defibrillators for community rugby clubs across the UK – however, they have raised enough to buy 40 defibs.

“We don’t really measure success in pounds, we measure it in the number of defibrillators we get,” Darke affirmed.

LIFESAVERS: Members of the Richmond Heavies hand deliver a defibrillator to Carlisle R.F.C.

Darke was one of the riders to cycle the length of the country, which he described as a lot of fun – but it did not come without its challenges. 

“There was a stomach bug going through the camp unfortunately. There were people literally at the finish line vomiting with the bug. 

“One of our riders has a potentially life-threatening blood clot condition so she was managing that.” 

The riders were able to hand deliver defibrillators, otherwise known as AEDs, to community rugby clubs across the UK along their ride. 

Darke said: “The deliveries undoubtedly helped the riders connect and put a spring in their step. The riders were all thinking: we’re really helping people here.

“The sad thing is that, in the current post-Covid climate, so many of these rugby clubs haven’t had any income for two years. 

“Sadly, the only way a defibrillator is going to get to the top of the list is after something tragic happens.” 

This is not the only example of members of the Richmond Heavies going the extra mile for charitable causes. 

Last year Rupert Allhusen, a former prop for Richmond and Oxford University, swam the English Channel in aid of the Heavies’ Defibrillator Fund. 

Reaching French shores after 15 hours and 15 minutes of swimming, Allhusen became the first ever prop to complete the feat and crucially raised enough money for 15 community rugby clubs to have defibrillators installed. 

Anyone wishing to donate to the RHF’s fantastic cause can do so here and you can find out more about the RHF here. 

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