A team of Palace fans took on the Prudential RideLondon on Sunday 29 July and raised over £10,000 for the club’s official charity, Palace for Life Foundation.
Treacherous weather hampered the race, with heavy rain and wind making for difficult conditions during the 100 mile cycle across London and Surrey. But Team Palace for Life were undeterred, with all but one of the riders completing the course.*
Mark Newlands, who has raised over £1,000, said: “It was a fantastic experience, I really enjoyed it and I was really proud to have worn a Palace shirt and to raise money for Palace for Life Foundation. I met a few Palace fans along the way and heard a few shouts of ‘Eagles’ so that was really nice. Knowing that you’re doing it for a good cause really helps.”
The full list of riders was: Mark Newlands, Tom Rathborn, Callum Stevenson, Matthew Wesson, Andrew Johnson, Nicola Cotton, Jack Thomas, Stuart Mackenzie, Noel Clancy, Donald Forde, Roland Bryan, Andy Philips, Charlotte Ferguson, Ajay Hoxha, Toby Wait, Robert Barnes, Viv Inglis, Angie Smith, Robin Ferguson.
Charlotte Ferguson, who coaches at the Foundation and is a goalkeeper for Palace Ladies, decided to take on the challenge two years after having spinal surgery that nearly ended her career.
“As a female member of staff at the Foundation, I really wanted to do this as it’s usually the male members of staff that do these challenges.
“It was an interesting experience and I’m just glad I got to the finish line! At 80 miles I got really bad knee pain and I knew I just needed to stay on the bike and I made it.
“I’m really proud of myself, to come back from surgery, it’s an even bigger achievement. I’ve had help from people at the club, like Dr Zaf, so I need to thank him, he’s a big part of why I’m here and why I wanted to do this.”
The team of 19 riders have collectively raised over £10,000 so far to support the Foundation’s work with young people in south London. The Foundation engages over 13,000 people each year in the communities around Selhurst Park, particularly the most hard-to-reach and hard-to-help.
One of those who has benefitted from the Foundation’s support is Ruari, a 10-year-old from south Croydon with Down’s Syndrome who plays football every week for the DS Eagles. Ruari’s story here
Deputy CEO at the Foundation, Donald Forde, completed the route and was keen to praise the team’s efforts.
“It was extremely challenging out on the course and I am so proud of our whole team for battling through and getting to the finish line.
“Everyone has worked extremely hard to prepare for this and also to fundraise for the Foundation and their support is invaluable. We exist to give young people a better start in life and help those at risk of going down the wrong path, the money our riders have raised will have such an impact on our work.”
Another of the riders, Jack Thomas, explained supporting the Foundation had given him an extra boost: “Raising money has given it more of a purpose than just getting a spot in the ballot, I did a cake sale and bits and bobs like that at work, people really appreciated the cause of Palace for Life and the work they do in the community of south London with young people.
“The support and atmosphere throughout the day was just amazing, even as we were going out at 7.30am, there were people out in the rain with cowbells and cheering, it was just awesome.”
Interested in representing Palace for Life Foundation at RideLondon next year? Register HERE.
*Toby Wait unfortunately had to withdraw after suffering five punctures on the course.