‘Old Blokes on Bikes’ prepare for 50km cycle challenge

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A group of 13 keen cyclists are gearing up to tackle a gruelling 50km cycle challenge to raise money for research into the cancer one of them is trying hard to beat.

Calling themselves the OBOBs (Old Blokes on Bikes), the group will take on this year’s Hell of the North Cotswolds, along roads and tracks around the Cotswold hills, in Gloucestershire.

The event takes place on Sunday, April 10 and all the money raised by the group will be donated to the charity Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund in honour of OBOBs member Mike Everitt, from Hook Norton.

He was diagnosed with the disease in October 2014. Despite training for the event, Mr Everitt will not be up to full fitness after undergoing surgery in March.

Mr Everitt said: “When I was diagnosed, I was basically given a year to live. The past 18 months have been a rollercoaster ride, but I’m still here, and looking forward to cheering on the team – even if I have to do that from my hospital bed.”

Pancreatic cancer is an extremely difficult cancer to diagnose and treat because it is unusually aggressive, symptoms are often vague and generally appear at an advanced stage of the disease.

Around three per cent of those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer will survive for five years or more, a figure that has barely improved in forty years.

“There needs to be as much research done into this disease as possible so that the people who come after me stand a better chance of beating it,” added Mr Everitt. “I’ve been fortunate to benefit from the medical treatment that I’ve had and I’m sure in 10 years’ time there will be even better treatments - if I can make a small contribution towards that goal, that gives me something really important to focus on now.”

Last year friends and work colleagues of Mr Everitt took part in the Wolf Run Challenge in April, a 10km obstacle race, raising nearly £16,000 for the charity. Mr Everitt works for engineering company Vocis.

Maggie Blanks, founder of Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, said: “Mike’s determination to fundraise for PCRF on top of everything else he’s dealing with is humbling. We’re very grateful to Mike and all the other OBOBs taking on such a tough physical challenge – we hope the wind stays behind you all the way!”

Anyone wanting to support the OBOBs visit Mr Everitt’s Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/Mike-Everitt.