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The Fred Whitton Challenge Marks Landmark Year with Celebratory Dinner

by Nick Gregory

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Organisers of the Fred Whitton Challenge held a very special dinner recently at the Grange Hotel over Sands to celebrate the event's achievement in raising £1,000,000 for local Charities. 

It was an all-day affair with most of the guests taking in a cycle around Arnside and Silverdale before the dinner, showcasing the area's fantastic local scenery. 

Guest of honour for the evening was Ian Stannard of Team Sky, who presented a cheque for £125,000 to Sue MacDonald of Macmillan Cancer Support. Also presented on the night were cheques of £20,000 to The Great North Air Ambulance, The North West Air Ambulance and The Duddon & Furness Mountain Rescue. 

The Fred Whitton Challenge has now been running for 16 years and has become the most well-known sportive in the country. In such high demand are places that a lottery system is used to allocate them from those who enter. 

Along with the main charities the event helps local youth cycling projects ranging from BMX, girls' and boys' youth racing, youth handicapped riders and school cycling workshops. 


Lakes road Club and Friends Lake Coniston. (Photo by Russell Holden)

Guest of Honour Ian Sannard of Team Sky with Mrs lynne Whitton and two of Fred's grandchildren, Ben and Mya. (Photo by Steve Fleming)

Paul Loftus - who set up the event along with the Lakes Road Club - says the 112 mile ride has become an established Cumbrian event, and has proved to be the forerunner of many other similar rides around the Country. 

"It has surpassed all our wildest dreams that with starting off with 66 riders in 1999 we now have to limit the ride to 2,500," Loftus said. "I'd like to thank all the people from all over Cumbria and beyond who have helped make this event the success it is." 

Loftus is now handing over the organisation to Stuart Emms, whose aim will be to continue with this now iconic event and raise yet more money for many special charities. 

On behalf of everyone at Cyclosport, we'd like to thank Paul for his invaluable contribution to the sportive industry over many years and wish him the very best for the future. 

The date for the 2016 ride is Sunday 8th May - for more information visit

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