More help needed for ‘best ever’ bike ride

Age UK West Sussex has been confirmed as a charity partner for the Greater Haywards Heath Bike Bike 2017. Mike Oliver, Martyn Armitage, Alyson Smith Pic Steve Robards SR1701611 SUS-170131-142742001
Age UK West Sussex has been confirmed as a charity partner for the Greater Haywards Heath Bike Bike 2017. Mike Oliver, Martyn Armitage, Alyson Smith Pic Steve Robards SR1701611 SUS-170131-142742001
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A plea for more marshals has gone out from the team working to make this year’s Greater Haywards Heath Bike Ride the best ever.

The 2017 event, which is set to draw hundreds of cyclists of all ages and abilities, will support Age UK West Sussex, which is in the process of moving from the Redwood Centre into a brand new building at Butlers Green Road. It will also be raising funds for local charities Sussex Oakleaf and Autism Support Group.

The Middy is proud to be a media partner for the bike ride, which will be held on Sunday, April 2.

Entries are now open for cyclists, with four routes available, and a fun-packed day of music and entertainment is planned for the whole family.

The hunt is now on for more people to help as marshals. Volunteers over 18 are needed for shifts of two hours during the day, at various points around the courses.

Martyn Armitage said: “Marshalling is an important role in ensuring the riders know where to go safely and we are looking for people who would enjoy spending two hours in the Mid Sussex countryside in support of our annual ride.

“After the marshals finish at their locations, there will be the opportunity to come back to the Broadway after the event as there’s going to be lots of music and fun to thank them for their time!”

Mike Oliver added: “Marshaling at the HHBR is a fantastic combination: experience the beautiful Sussex countryside, ensure the safety of our event and support a worthy charitable cause. Why not stand for a couple of hours of responsibility then join us back at the finish to celebrate the riders return? A great day out for all the family!!”

Age UK West Sussex told the Middy they were ‘thrilled’ to have the event’s support.

Mid Sussex manager Alyson Smith said: “We will soon be moving into our new building in Beech Hurst and had been wondering how to equip the centre. It’s brilliant for us that the bike ride has come forward to help us.”

Money raised by the event will be used to equip the new Haywards Heath centre, which will have a cafe, and dining area, garden with outside furniture, fitness studio and activities rooms.

It’s hoped the facility will become a hub for the whole community in addition to benefitting older people in Haywards Heath and surrounding villages.

Its mission is to improve the lives of older people in the area and its services are open to those aged over 50, although 50 per cent of service users are over 75.

The other half live alone, often coming to the charity after a life-changing event such as the loss of a partner, illness or ailing health.

Alyson said: “We are working to tackle isolation and loneliness, encouraging people to socialise and get to know people and make new friendships.

“Our services are offered at low cost to our members, so although we receive grants from West Sussex County Council and Mid Sussex District Council, we rely on fundraising and grants.

“We’re hoping the new building will open at the end of March with an official launch in the summer, to tie in with our celebration of the 60th year of Age UK West Sussex.”

For information about becoming a marshal contact Ruth De Mierre 01444 453399.