TWO friends raised £3,000 for children with special needs by cycling from London to Amsterdam.

It was the third time Kate Lovett and Alison Armstrong, both 49 from Sutton upon Derwent, have saddled themselves with a long cycling challenge on behalf of the National Autistic Society.

In previous years they have helped to raise £4,000 riding from London to Paris and from London to Brussels.

This year’s trip saw the pair cover 320km in three days as their route took them from London to Harwich, then via ferry to the Hook of Holland, before remounting their bikes and riding to Amsterdam.

Kate and Alison were joined by 11 other riders. Mother-of-three Kate, of Jasmine Garth, has two sons Charles, 15, and Harry, 13, at Kings Mill Special School in Driffield. She also has an older son George, 16, at Pocklington School.

The women met 12 years ago when their eldest sons were at primary school together.

Alison, who teaches German at York College, said: “The ride was a huge challenge but totally worth it.

“Having someone to train with gave me the motivation I needed to turn up for training, even in the depths of winter.”

Kate is a company director of EDGE Services, a healthcare train - ing company, based in Museum Street, York. She said: “Holland is famously flat but the worst bit was cycling over the cobbled streets.

There were miles and miles of them. There were a lot of challeng - ing hill climbs on the first day in England but Alison and I stuck together and pushed through to really enjoy the weekend.

“My sons Harry and Charlie are the most affectionate and loving boys a mother could ever hope to have, though they require a lot of support to do things that other children take for granted.

“We’ve been lucky enough to find a great school which meets their needs and offers us respite.

“But I know that a lot of other families aren’t as fortunate as ours and don’t know where to turn.”

To sponsor Kate and Alison visit Armstrong2