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Enable-led team cycle from London to Brussels for Grove Cottage

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The Enable team that cycled from London to Brussels to raise money for Grove Cottage
The Enable team that cycled from London to Brussels to raise money for Grove Cottage

A team of 15 fervent cyclists rode 225 miles from England's capital city to the European Union's de facto capital in a bid to raise £5,000 for Grove Cottage, the home of Bishop's Stortford Mencap.

Enables Matt Baker and Mike Cooke
Enables Matt Baker and Mike Cooke

Over two-and-a-half days the team cycled from Waterloo in London to Harwich, caught a night ferry to the Hook of Holland and then made their way through the Netherlands and into Belgium, passing by Antwerp before reaching Brussels and celebrating with a slap-up meal.

The challenge was dreamed up by Mike Cooke, managing director of Enable Independent, the North Street team of financial life planners.

Mike was formerly a member of the Round Table, a social group for men aged 18-45, and, while he was with the group, he worked as a volunteer driver for Grove Cottage, transporting children with learning disabilities to and from the London Road hub.

In 2015, he planned a bike ride from London to Paris – to celebrate Enable’s 15th anniversary – which raised £28,000.

Mike was joined by his fellow Enable director, Matt Baker, for both the 2015 and 2018 challenges. This year, the duo were the only two members of the Enable family that took part in the event, but members of the team helped in other ways.

Sam Hastings, Enable’s client relationship manager, organised the logistical side of the money-spinner, including making sure all the cyclists had beds to sleep in at the end of each day.

Mortgage advisors Rebecca Izod and Ian Medway were part of the cyclists’ support team, handing out food and drinks along the way.

The remaining 13 cyclists were Mike and Matt’s friends, along with a few representatives of other local businesses: Touch Creative, David Lee Estate and Letting Agents and Saffron Walden’s Country Wide Grounds Maintenance.

The team were scheduled to cycle 216 miles but ended up doing nine more.

They left London and aimed to ride 86 miles to Harwich. Once the ferry arrived in the Hook of Holland they intended to cycle 84 miles to Brasschaat, near Antwerp. And, on the final leg of the journey, they had arranged to pedal 46 miles into Brussels. But after getting a bit lost at various stages, they rode 225 miles.

“We were all very lucky with the weather and everyone had a superb weekend,” said Mike. “Despite a couple of accidents, punctures and getting lost a few times, we covered the full 225 miles.

“Thank you to everyone that sponsored us. We’re now looking forward to organising our next one to celebrate our 20th anniversary in 2020.”

So far, the team have raised £2,988.25 for Grove Cottage, but they are hoping to reach £5,000. This money will be put towards the charity’s language and therapy programme.

“We like to give Grove Cottage a choice when we undertake charity events for them,” said Sam. “We always talk to them and ask where the funds are desperately needed.”

It is not just endurance cycle rides that the Enable Team have organised for Grove Cottage. In 2017, the team took part in the Nuclear Races in Brentwood, a 12k mud run pitting participants against obstacles, including a free-fall death slide and a 15-lane zip-wire into water.

To sponsor the team, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/EnableLondontoBrusselsCycleEvent.

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