A group of intrepid cyclists have been left stunned by the generosity of well-wishers who have helped them to raise almost £4,000 so far for a charity close to their hearts.

And now the employees of surface manufacturers Wilsonart are determined to reach their fundraising target of £10,000 for Alzheimer’s Society before the end of the year.

After a hugely successful 250-mile cycle ride from the company’s factory in Shildon to its Shore Laminates site in Perth, Scotland, workers are already hatching plans for their next challenge.

Scott Howdon, the company’s Operation’s Manager in Shildon, revealed: “Some of the team will be signing up for Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walk in South Shields in October.

“But before that we’re hoping we can get around 10 of the team to really throw themselves into the fundraising challenge, by taking part in a skydive!

“The decision to make Alzheimer’s Society our charity of the year was taken by two of our longest-serving employees, John Goldsborough and Kevin Allen.

“It seemed a natural choice because a number of our employees have family members who have been affected by dementia.”

Scott, 45, added: “There were more than 20 of us on the recent Shildon to Shore cycle ride and we were all taken aback by the amazing generosity of the public.

“The number of people who came forward to donate to us en route was truly heart-warming and amazing. It just shows how many people must be affected by this disease.

“In Tynemouth, one woman called Hazel put £40 in the bucket – no questions asked. How amazing is that?

“And the lovely Jill at Newcastle’s Cycle Hub shop donated some delicious brownies and refreshments to give us the sugar boost we needed to carry on pedalling.

“Along the way we took in some of the region’s most iconic landmarks, including the Angel of the North, Newcastle’s Millennium Bridge and Warkworth, Alnwick and Bamburgh Castles.

“And in Scotland we cycled through hailstones and lightning before what was, for me, the highlight of the trip, crossing the stunning Forth Bridge.”

There are more than 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia, including 35,000 across the North East. The condition is now the UK’s biggest killer, with someone developing it every three minutes.

Dan Nelson, regional community fundraiser for Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We’re so grateful to Scott and the team for their amazing effort. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they get up to next!

“We rely heavily on fundraising to help us support people living with dementia, campaign for their rights, and fund vital research.”

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the team’s most recent challenge, dubbed ‘Shildon to Shore’, can do so by visiting their Just Giving Page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/wilsonart2019