Footballers get on their bikes

Leyland Red Rose charity ride - Dave McCarty, Michael Seddon, Duncan Neilson, Dave Seddon, Gary Meehan
Leyland Red Rose charity ride - Dave McCarty, Michael Seddon, Duncan Neilson, Dave Seddon, Gary Meehan
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A group of Leyland footballers swapped their studs for cycling shoes to complete a gruelling charity bike ride from one end of Britain to the other.

The five-strong team from Leyland Red Rose FC, led by club chairman Duncan Neilson, rode from Land’s End to John O’Groats in nine days.

Duncan was joined on the ride by first team manager Gary Meehan, 50, second team manager Darren Salmon, 46, and first team players Mick Seddon, 44, and David McCarty, 23.

Duncan, 53, said: “It was a good laugh and there was a brilliant atmosphere. I’m proud of the lads, they did really well.

“Three weren’t really cyclists. They’d all ridden bikes but hadn’t done any big mileage, and they all got through it fine.”

The trip raised money for Ronald McDonald House at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Hospital, which provides accommodation for families of critically-ill children.

The cause is close to the hearts of Duncan and Darren. Duncan said: “My grandson went in there when he was first born, because he had transverse valves. My daughter was there with her husband, and if it hadn’t been there they would have had to travel home every day. It helps a lot.”

Darren said: “A lady at the gym where I work has a young son with a heart valve problem. He’s been in and out of Alder Hey for 10 years.

“They really appreciate what they are doing.”

The team are not sure how much money they have raised, although it could be as much as £10,000.

Duncan said: “We didn’t have a target, we just wanted to raise as much as possible.”

The team completed a number of stages of up to 120 miles a day, and had to battle bad weather, particularly in Scotland.

They were given a morale boost by the beautiful scenery on their route through Scotland, which took in Loch Lomond, Fort William and Wick.

The next project for the team will be starting pre-season preparations for their campaigns in the Preston and District Football League, which begins in the autumn.