Saddle soap: Emmerdale stars complete charity ride to Albert Square

Actors and producer ride through the night to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Care

by Simon_MacMichael   August 23, 2011  

Ben Swift with Team Emmerdale.jpg

Stars of the ITV soap opera Emmerdale have completed a 224-mile ride from the Woolpack pub which features in that show to the Queen Vic, of BBC EastEnders fame. What’s more, riding as individuals rather than a relay, they rode through the night to complete the trip in less than 24 hours with the target of raising more than £100,000 for Macmillan Cancer Care.

The five man team was made up of actors Kelvin Fletcher, Rik Makarem, James Thornton, and Tom Lister plus executive producer, Steve November, with the ride dedicated to the memory of series producer Gavin Blyth, who died of cancer last year at the age of just 41.

The team were accompanied on the first 61 miles of the journey by one of Yorkshire’s own cycling stars, Ben Swift, who was unable to ride the rest of the route with them – ironically, the Team Sky rider had TV commitments of his own, as pundit for ITV4’s Vuelta coverage.

Ben said: “I am delighted to have been able to help the lads in some small way and think they have done an absolute amazing job for Macmillan Cancer Support. They have worked really hard and I am very proud of their achievement.”

There was an East End welcome waiting for the riders when they hit Walford – in reality, the BBC Elstree Studios at Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, with a reception committee including Adam Woodyatt, the actor who plays Ian Beale, who used to be listed as a past customer of Condor Cycles on its website, who said:

“Congratulations to the Emmerdale team as it is a fantastic achievement. To do this bike ride in less than 24 hours is amazing and it’s for a great cause. It’s just a shame the Vic’s not open as they could do with a pint!”

Team Emmerdale cyclist James Thornton said: ‘We are all overjoyed that we have managed to complete this massive cycle challenge in less than 24 hours to raise £100,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

“Gavin left a giant hole at Emmerdale so we did this to remember him and to try and raise money for Macmillan. It was exhausting, but with our fantastic supporters cheering us along the way and knowing that every penny we raised will directly help people affected by cancer, it was worth every mile”.

So far the team have raised nearly £45,000 towards their £100,000 target and donations can be made through their page on the Just Giving website, or a £5 donation can be made through your mobile phone handset by texting ‘RIDE66 £5’ to 70070.