In 2003 Northamptonshire businessman John Pinkham encouraged a group of friends to take part in a cycle ride around the county's rolling countryside to raise money for the Friends of Cynthia Spencer Hospice. Such was its success, Cycle 4 Cynthia was born.
In 2004, when the Hospice launched a £1.5 million appeal, John decided to extend the event beyond simply inviting his friends for a casual bike ride and encouraged families, businesses and cycle enthusiasts to both sponsor and take part in Cycle 4 Cynthia to help raise funds for the Hospice.
Cyclists had a choice of three routes, 5 miles, 25 miles and 50 miles encompassing some of the county's most attractive stately homes including Althorp House, Kelmarsh Hall, Cottesbrooke Hall and Holdenby House. The result was phenomenal; over 460 people took part, raising a staggering £35,000.
In 2005 it was decided that the money raised would be split between the Friends of Cynthia Spencer Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Support in the county while the subsequent major change to the event has been its venue; it moved from Nationwide, via Franklin's Gardens (the home of the Northampton Saints) to Althorp (by kind permission of The Earl Spencer, who is President of the Hospice), then on to Lamport Hall in 2014 (when 10% of the monies raised went to Kidsaid, the Northampton-based charity which supports children who have suffered abuse, bereavement, bullying or family issues). In 2015 the ride returned to Althorp, when the Hospice became the sole beneficiary, and then moved to Holdenby House last year.
In 2016 some 1100 riders took part in Cycle4Cynthia and raised over £76,000 - an increase of £3k on the previous year - and taking the total to almost half a million pounds in the thirteen years of the event; an incredible figure based on the ride's rather humble beginnings! The committee thanks not only John, who stood down as Chairman in 2016, but all those riders, marshals, volunteers, businesses and sponsors who have helped to make the event such a success and hopes that a record number will again be out in force to support Cycle4Cynthia 2017 when it returns to Lamport Hall on Sunday 24th September and make it the best yet!
Saints player and England captain, Dylan Hartley, addressing his fellow riders at the start line of the 2016 ride:
“Three years ago my bike was stolen just before the event but that wasn’t going to stop me taking part and I borrowed a pink-saddled, fixed-gear bike and still managed to do 25 miles!
“In 2014 I couldn’t ride because the date clashed with a Saints game and last year, having just become a new dad, I watched from the sidelines, but today I’m really excited to be back pedalling in this incredible event and thank all of you for turning out in support of this amazing charity.”