Freemasons get on their bikes for charity

Ilkley Gazette: Phil Atkinson Phil Atkinson

AN Addingham man is raising money for charity by getting on his bike and cycling 280 miles in three days.

Phil Atkinson will be joining 30 Freemasons on August 23 as they cycle around the ‘perimeter’ of the Yorkshire West Riding Masonic Province, visiting 24 lodges on the way.

The journey will start at Tapton Hall in Sheffield and head north to High Bentham, across to Ripon and then South through Goole returning to Sheffield on August 25.

The sponsorship money raised by the Phil and the rest of the riders will go towards the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI) Festival which was launched in 2012 and runs for five years. It has already raised over £1m.

The cycle challenge, aptly named the ‘Provincial Perimeter Pedal’ (PPP) was the idea of two experienced cyclists, Martyn Bolt and Craig Johnson who were inspired by the Tour de France and wanted to create their very own ‘Tour de West Yorkshire’.

In fact Martyn was one of the people who helped design the initial route for the Tour de France and is keen to point out that a greater distance will be covered in the PPP than the Yorkshire section of Le Grand Depart.

“One of the key principles upon which Freemasonary is founded is charity, resulting in an enormous amount of effort going into raising money for good causes through lots of different activities,” said Craig.

“We therefore thought we would help swell the charitable funds by taking on an ambitious challenge that would put both our physical fitness and cycling skills to the test.

“The Yorkshire West Riding Province is the largest in the country so we thought it would be great to cycle around its boundary.

“As millions of people across the world will see, Yorkshire is a fabulous county for cycling with beautiful scenery and testing inclines. The perimeter route will be a similar test to Le Grand Depart with equally dramatic views.”

Phil said: “Martyn, Craig and the team have been planning every last detail since the beginning of the year, as it is quite a logistical challenge. This meant we have had plenty of warning to get fit for what will be an arduous three days in the saddle.

“Fortunately all the hilly parts are on the first day with the last stage being fairly flat. I am certainly looking forward to it and hope we all manage to complete the course.”

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