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In 1981, best friends Ray Greaves, George Dowling and Gordon McLeod challenged 15 men to ride 100 miles from Newcastle to Leeds to raise money for our legacy charity North Of England Childrens Cancer Fund. The idea came about because Ray’s daughter Caroline had cancer and they wanted to do something to raise money and awareness…

Over the next 16 years , hundreds of riders joined them, helping to raise over £1.7 million.

40 years on, bike ride organisers, George & Gordon are holding a reunion and would love to see as many bike riders as possible (sadly, Ray has passed away).

Please turn up (bearing in mind the safety of you and others) and enjoy a chat and a drink with George and Gordon.

Date: Wednesday 11th August 2021 .
Venue: Hebburn Legion Social Club
Time: from 7pm .

In addition, photographs of all rides will be on display for viewing on Monday 9th & Tuesday 10th August at Hebburn Legion.

When asked if it was a tough ride, Gordon said “we could spot a hill from 3 miles away but the comradeship was unbelievable over the years!”

The story in more detail…

This week, we were contacted by Annalei the daughter of one of the founding organisers of the ride. She told us that The Hebburn and Jarrow Club started after Ray and Jane Greaves’ daughter Caroline was diagnosed with cancer. Annalei told us

“My dad and Ray had been best friends since they were children and along with George they were determined to do something. Unfortunately Caroline lost her battle but so many others needed help. We are incredibly proud of Ray, my dad and George.”


We also spoke to Gordon – now in his 80’s to dig a little deeper. He told us that during their first ride from the RVI to Leeds, that they’d met a man called Ian Campbell – a famous professional wrestler who was amazed at their efforts and gave their fundraising a boost with his support.

Gordon said that after their first ride, a cheque was handed over to Dr Alan Craft for £11.5k.

This was an astounding achievement 40 years ago, and helped to lay the initial foundations for the charity in those very early days. In fact, it went so well that they decided to keep on doing it and over the next 16 years, the Hebburn and Jarrow branch raised £1.7m and was named on one occasion by the Chronicle as the charity of the year – something that Gordon is still very proud of today. Dr Alan Craft – now Professor Sir Alan Craft – remains a trustee of the charity today.


Have you got old pictures? We'd love to see them.

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