DALMATIANS dropped in to the St David’s Hospice Care café in Newport to launch their 2018 charity bike ride.

The annual Dalmatian Bike Ride has raised £176,748 in just six years for Newport-based St David’s Hospice Care. The event raised £42,771 in 2017.

The charity bike ride, which in 2018 will feature four routes including the ‘limited edition’ Brecon to Newport canal route and a new 58-mile route, is supported by Newport-based multi-specialist recruitment and training agency Acorn.

The Brecon to Newport and Caerleon route, 45 miles along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal towpath, is limited to an entry of just 200 pre-registered riders.

Also included for 2018 is a Strava monitored King of the Mountain section at Parc Seymour, near Caldicot on the 58-mile route.

This year’s Dalmatian Bike Ride, which has involved more than 1,500 riders since it was first staged in 2012, is on Saturday, June 9.

Event organiser and keen cyclist Dave Rees, from St Julian’s, Newport, said: “It’s quite phenomenal what we’ve managed to achieve over the past six years. We now only need to raise another £75,000 to reach the magical quarter of a million pound milestone and I hope we go some way to achieving that target in 2018.

“We are delighted to link up once more with Acorn as sponsor for the Dalmatian Bike Ride for 2018.

“We want people to register to take part as soon as possible and to get fund raising. Paying for someone to enter in 2018 and giving it as a Christmas present could be perfect for the cyclist in the family.”

Dave and colleagues started the bike ride following the death of his father-in-law, John Dixon, who had been cared for in his last days at St Anne’s Hospice, Newport.

“We were astounded to know that the marvellous care that John received was completely free. We found out how much it would have cost to care for a patient such as John and set out to repay that cost, £2,500, which is how the Dalmatian ride came about. In the event we actually raised £10,000 in the first year.

“After the first year, we decided we wanted to make the ride an annual event, make it bigger with 100 riders taking part and tried to think of a catchy name. One of the people taking part suggested we should have 101 riders so naturally it became known from then on as the Dalmatian bike ride.”

Gemma Sandhu, of St David’s Hospice Care, said: “We’re so very grateful to The Acorn Dalmatian Bike Ride for supporting us so brilliantly each year and staging such a fantastic annual event which is enjoyed so much by everyone from riders to supporters.”

The cost per rider has been held at £20 per person which includes an event Tech T-shirt. However riders can pay an extra £15 and receive a full cycle top. There will be a barbecue at the end of the ride at The Priory Hotel garden in Caerleon, which will be attended by Cruella De Ville and her Dalmatians.

Riders can register online at www.stdavidshospicecare.or or by visiting www.dalmatianbikeride.com

For more details contact Dave Rees at dave.rees61@ntlworld.com or call Gemma Carter at St David’s Hospice Care on 01633 851051.