AN annual event which had to be held virtually in 2020 has raised £20,000.

The Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Challenge, which raises funds for Ryedale Special Families (RSF), was gearing up to celebrate its 10th and biggest year to date when, like many other events, it had to be cancelled due to coronavirus

However, Rob Davies, from RSF, who launched the event in 2011, said they were determined to go ahead virtually.

He said: “In line with all other events this year’s 10th running of Ryedale Special Families’ Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Challenge had to be cancelled, losing a possible £40,000 worth of income to the charity as a result. But undeterred we created a ‘virtual’ equivalent of the event instead, inviting cyclists to get on their bikes and cycle whatever distance they liked, and wherever they liked.”

The event took place throughout the month of July, with just over 100 participants taking part, raising £20,000.

Rob said:“It was the first time we’ve done anything quite like this and we were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and support shown by everyone who took part, which included cyclists from as far afield as Scotland and Dorset. It also attracted some of our families and staff who really enjoyed the opportunity to get involved.”

“We created a special website where each rider could record their cycling activity, update their individual mileages, post photos of themselves, as well as keep track of their fundraising efforts. We also presented special commemorative t-shirts to those riders who raised over £144 in sponsorship - 144 miles being the usual distance of the real event.

He added: “We’re hoping to be able to celebrate our 10th Anniversary since we launched the event in 2011, next year, but who knows, we may just run the virtual one alongside it – watch this space.”

Lisa Keenan, chief officer for RSF said: “The money raised by the ‘Virtual’ Cycle Challenge is hugely important to RSF at this time.

“Our work has been greatly affected by the pandemic - as has the whole country. Our ability to fundraise in the same way as previous years is not possible at the moment, which makes the money raised here even more important to the charity.

“It is helping to sustain our core services to local families at this very difficult time and we continue to support them in whatever way we can.”