A GROUP of friends who cycled to Barcelona in Spain and back non-stop for charity are set to beat their target.
Darren Byrne, Justin Batchelor, Ricky Matthews, Phil Astell and Mark Dempster, who made up the Barcelona Boomerang team, aimed to get £50,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Trust.
They already have more than £47,000 so far with more money coming in, despite Justin needing hospital treatment after being struck in France by a car door as the driver got out.
James Beeching, organiser and support team member, said the incident happened outside Calais. He said: “Justin was propelled through the glass of the car door. The team had no choice but to stop the challenge and escort him to the nearest hospital. He had multiple stitches and a suspected broken jaw.
“To the team’s amazement and proof that these boys’ commitment went to the ends of the earth for the cause, Justin chose to discharge himself from hospital and see the challenge through to the end. But after a long and very hard deliberation we had to take the decision that Justin and Darren, who had also been injured, could no longer ride the last 42 miles. Once in English seas it did not take long for the kind messages from loved ones and supporters to come flooding in via Facebook and Twitter. We were also told that another charity cycle team (P2P) and friends of Barcelona Boomerang had taken it upon themselves to cycle the remaining 42 miles in our honour.”
A crowd of 200 people greeted the cyclists when they returned to Hastings. Barcelona Boomerang was named Charity of the Year in this year’s Hastings Achievers Awards.
Mr Beeching added: “Each member of this small team put their heart and soul into making it work. I am proud of this team for their achievements and want to thank them from the bottom of my heart. Our aim was to raise as much money as possible through holding many events over a 12-month period. I believe this method, along with the generosity from the local community, is why Barcelona Boomerang became such a success. The whole team thanks all those involved.”