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Stars line up for charity bike ride

A host of cricketers, administrators and fans of cricket are to embark on a gruelling charity bike ride to raise money for two of the game's leading charities.

The Big Bike Ride will cover the 441 miles between Durham and London during a five-day trek that takes in a number of England's leading cricket grounds.

Riders, including past and present stars of the county and international game, aim to raise £200,000 for the Tom Maynard Trust and the Professional Cricketers' Association's Benevolent Fund.

The Tom Maynard Trust was set up in 2012 following the tragic loss of Surrey star Tom Maynard. It aims to help the development of aspiring, disadvantaged cricketers and other sportspeople requiring support in their careers.

The Benevolent Fund was founded by the PCA to help current and former players and their dependants in times of hardship, upheaval, or to readjust to the world beyond the professional game.

Among the current and former cricketers taking part are England hero Darren Gough, England one-day star Jos Buttler, Somerset's Marcus Trescothick, Essex's Graham Napier, Surrey's Gareth Batty, Middlesex's James Harris, and Durham's Phil Mustard.

They will be joined by a host of fellow county professionals and cricket administrators, including CEO and chairman of Surrey CCC & Somerset CCC, Richard Gould, Richard Thompson, Guy Lavender and Andy Nash, as well as Maynard’s father, former Glamorgan batsman, Matthew and his sister Ceri.

Matthew Maynard said: "It will be a gruelling ride for all concerned and emotional one for many, including Ceri and I. But we are all determined to complete it and raise money for two fantastic charities that are worthy of our support.

"We will be putting in the hard yards on the roads, yet cricket fans up and down the country can do their bit by pledging whatever they can afford to make a real difference."

PCA assistant chief executive Jason Ratcliffe, who sits as a trustee of the Benevolent Fund and the TMT, said: "Few vocations carry so much uncertainty as that of a professional cricketer and the Benevolent Fund acts as an ultimate safety net for all players past and present.

"We pride ourselves on putting health and well-being at the heart of what we do for the players who have entertained generations of supporters up and down the country and we'd be very grateful for any support they could show now."

Riders will depart from the Emirates Durham ICG on October 17 before making their way to Headingley. From there they will head to Old Trafford on a gruelling cross-Pennine route the following day.

They will then take in Trent Bridge on the third day before passing the County Ground in Derby and Grace Road, Leicester, and on to Wantage Road, Northampton.

Their final leg departs for Lord's on October 23 and it will culminate in the PCA's Ashes Farewell Lunch for Alastair Cook's England team, who will be bidding to retain the Ashes in Australia.

Phillip Browne, marketing director of sponsors Brewin Dolphin, said: "We're delighted to be involved in the Big Bike Ride following the success of the Tom Maynard Trust ride from Cardiff to London last year.

"We're hoping this one will be even bigger and better and it is great to be supporting these two worthy causes. It also gives us an excellent opportunity to engage with clients and staff in our offices across the UK."

Among the additional county cricketers taking part in the ride are Dean Cosker and Mark Wallace of Glamorgan, Richard Coughtrie and Hamish Marshall of Gloucestershire, and Lee Daggett and James Middlebrook of Northamptonshire.

They will be joined by Jaik Mickleburgh and Tim Phillips of Essex, Matthew Boyce of Leicestershire, Matt Coles of Kent and Darren Maddy of Warwickshire.

In order to support them on their ride, supporters can log on to their BT Donate pages here: http://thepca.co.uk/confirmed-riders.html

The event is being generously supported by the headline sponsors Brewin Dolphin, as well as Buxton Water, Trek Bicycle Coventry and Cotswold Cycles.

Additional support is also being offered by Jaguar, who have donated 3 XF Sportsbrakes with roof racks, which will prove provide transport for the mechanics and support staff on the route each day.

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