ORGANISERS of a trans-Europe charity bike ride are handing over match funded money for this year's event - even though it was cancelled due to Covid-19

The popular 54321 Cymru bike ride, which takes in Holland, Belgium and France, had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.

Nevertheless the backers - Newport-based Whitehead Building Services and brewer Tiny Rebel - have donated £4,750 match funds to St David's Hospice Care.

Hayley Morton, organiser of the annual event, said: "It was heart-breaking for us to have to cancel the 54321 Cymru event this year but nowhere near as devastating as for St David's Hospice Care which, as a result of the pandemic, faced a mountain to climb in terms of replacing income lost through fund raising.

"We've stood by our pledge to donate match funds to the hospice which is struggling so badly to cope in the current crisis."

Hayley revealed plans well advanced to stage 54321 Cymru in 2021. The Euro cycle challenge has to date raised some £285,000 for charity.

Hayley said: "When we were forced to cancel this year’s ride our transport partners Stena Line and Eurotunnel were great. They have transferred all our bookings to next year and that’s the same with our hotel bookings. We will be covering the new route we'd planned for this year in 2021 through Holland, Belgium and France, so it's all systems go for next year.

"As all of the planning has been completed including the transportation, route, stopping locations and hotels then it’s easy to just move the date to May 2021."

Newport-based St David's Hospice Care, which has to fund 70 per cent of its clinical services through its events - now cancelled - and its shops - all closed - is faced with a massive spike in Covid-19 pandemic referrals. In normal times St David's Hospice Care, which is celebrating 40 years since being established in Newport in 1979, cares for 1,200 patients a day, generates £2.5m a year from events and its shops in excess of £1m.

Emma Saysell, chief executive of Newport-based St David's Hospice Care, said: " The 54321 Cymru is a major event in our fund raising calendar. I know how much effort goes into the organising this fabulous event and how disappointed everyone, especially the cyclists who had trained so hard, were when it had t be cancelled this year.

"It's marvellous that despite the event having to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic Whitehead BS and Tiny Rebel brewery, which are a fabulous supporters of the hospice, were still able to come through with the £4,750 match funding."