A group of friends held an overnight fundraising cycle in memory of a 19-year-old who died of a brain haemorrhage.
Between them, the nine men cycled a distance equivalent to John O’Groats to Berlin on stationary bikes at Barnard Castle Cricket Club.
The team peddled their way to victory in just 19.5hours, more than four hours ahead of the 24hour finish time they were aiming for.
The 1,348 mile relay was in aid of the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS), and Barnard Castle senior football team.
The event began at 6pm on Friday March 28th, finishing at 1.30pm on Saturday March 29th, the anniversary of the death of 19-year-old Darren Mullery, of Barnard Castle. Mr Mullery died in 2008 of a brain haemorrhage.
The lads, all local to Barnard Castle, were: Mr Mullery’s cousin Adam Mullery, Jimmy Raine, Lewis Hammond, Karl Murray, Adam Goodfellow, Mike Dixon, Rob Dixon, Marc Swinbank and Phil Merryweather.
Mr Raine, the event organiser, said: “Darren’s sudden death was a huge shock to us all but he was such a genuinely lovely guy and wouldn’t have a bad word said about anybody.
“We all played football or cricket with Darren and annual games take place that show how well-loved he was.
“It was a lot harder than we all thought it was going to be. We were in teams of three and had three bikes on the go at each time, cycling around 150 miles each. There were a few nerves kicking about before we begun but we were all really excited and when we finished we were on such a high. We had great support from everyone and it really pulled us through.”
After the biking marathon, more than 130 people attended a memorial evening held at Barnard Castle Cricket Club once the men had powered through their last few miles. A signed Tottenham Hotspur shirt was auctioned to raise additional funds and a raffle and live local band played as fundraising continued throughout the night.
Altogether, around £2,500 was raised and will go towards the two causes, with 75% of donations going to the air ambulance.
Mr Raine said: “Darren’s parents chose to support the Great North Air Ambulance because it is a brilliant charity and entirely self-funded. The air ambulance is especially important because we are a rural community.”
Mandy Drake, head of fundraising at GNAAS, said: “This sounds like a gruelling challenge and we are pleased to hear of its ultimate success. We are thankful for their support and they should pride themselves on the legacy they are leaving behind for their friend. The money we receive will keep our aircraft flying.”
The Great North Air Ambulance Service flies around 1,000 missions every year and does not receive any government or lottery funding.