North East Connected

Bike ride wheels in the cash for hospice

TWO project engineers have turned to pedal power to raise much-needed funds for a hospice.

Alex Metcalfe, 28, and Connor Lyon, 26, who both work at ION Precision, in Newton Aycliffe, have handed over nearly £1,000 to St Teresa’s Hospice after completing the 139-mile coast to coast bike ride.

The duo set off from Whitehaven, in Cumbria, and, with just one overnight stop in Alston, reached Roker in the east the following day.

“We might have done it even quicker, but we got lost a few times,” said Alex, of Darlington. “The first mile took us an hour because we couldn’t find our way out of Whitehaven, but it was alright after that.”

The hardest section of the route was the climb up notorious Hartside. Connor, from Heighington, said: “I was ready to fall off my bike and never cycle again after that. The rain on day one was horrible too. But at least it was downhill into Alston.”

Alex added: “We only had one puncture on the whole route, which we had to change in the rain, and I broke my phone when it bounced out of my pocket, but we didn’t have any other problems.”

Connor, who plays football and squash, has a gym at home and runs, had the upper hand initially in terms of fitness, but both Connor and Alex had to train intensively for the ride.

Alex said: “I bought a bike in April 2021 and got into cycling in a big way. I did lots of mountain biking and turbo training in the garage, to build up my fitness, almost every night, and lost nearly two stone. Kerry and I welcomed our second child in July 2021 which was amazing, although training with two children under 3 at home made it even tougher!”

The friends had planned to do the ride for fun initially, but then Alex’s wife Kerry, who owns KMedia and is in charge of marketing activity within ION Precision, suggested they used it to raise money, having previously fundraised for the hospice.

After her grandmother had to use the hospice many years ago Kerry has worked with St Teresa’s to fundraise on their behalf.

Friends, family and colleagues, via LinkedIn, sponsored Alex and Connor, donating a total of £943.70.

John Paul Stabler, marketing manager at the hospice, said: “During the pandemic we were unable to run all of our large, community-based fundraising events so people raising money independently for us has been vital. We are really grateful to Alex, Connor and Kerry and everyone who sponsored them, for raising such a fantastic amount.”

The lads are now planning their next bike ride, likely to be the 192-mile coast to castle route from Tynemouth to Edinburgh. Details will be announced at and

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