Young Farmers’ bike challenge raises £2,000

Jess Townson (centre) with fellow riders Morgan Standen (left) and Beth Thornber. (s)
Jess Townson (centre) with fellow riders Morgan Standen (left) and Beth Thornber. (s)

Young Farmer Jess Townson set a 300-mile cycling challenge that involved every YF club in the county.

Jess (25), from Gisburn, is current Young Farmers county chairman and recruited members from all over Lancashire to join a three-day ride, in which all 18 club rooms were visited.

Starting and finishing at Summerseat, near Bury, the route included YF meeting places at Pendleton, Barley, Bolton-by-Bowland, Slaidburn, Chipping and Longridge.

Thirty-four riders took part at various stages, but Jess led by example and rode the entire course, despite crashing into a hedge at 24mph within three miles of setting off on the first day.

“Luckily I got away with a grazed elbow and couple of bruises,” Jess said.

“Not many of our members are keen cyclists and so this was a huge challenge to complete. Although the weather was relatively kind to us on the Saturday, the hills certainly weren’t and the last leg from Slaidburn to Hornby was the most testing of all, but the members who took part persevered and made the full stretch.

“Sunday was quite the opposite. We had flatter terrain mixed with heavy downpours and strong winds as the tail end of Hurricane Bertha made an appearance.”

On the third day they faced strong winds and weekday traffic, and as riders dropped out Jess rode the last leg from Chorley to Bury alone.

But it was worth the effort, as the event is likely to have raised £2,000 in sponsor money for research into 
Alpers Syndrome, a genetic condition that affect children’s muscles. Young Farmers past member Anne Stanford, from Winmarleigh, has a son, Ryan (six), who suffers from the condition.

Jess said: “Our chosen charity is close to our heart, and there is very little funding put towards research into it. The team would like to thank everyone for their support and their encouragement”

Donations can be made to Challenge2014