Businessmen complete cycling ‘Italian Job’

Cyclists from Nwes, with Amanda Lansom and her brother Nick Lane, front right, from the Rachel Lane

Cyclists from Nwes, with Amanda Lansom and her brother Nick Lane, front right, from the Rachel Lane Fund, celebrate raising funds from their bike ride across Italy. From left, front row, John Clarke. Back row, Carl West, Al Parsons, Kevin Home, and Richard Voisey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

The lung-busting efforts of a group of Norfolk businessmen has helped raise more than £2,300 for a local charity.

Seven cyclists took part in the 'Italian job' trip crossing the rugged peaks of the Apennine Mountains, through the Tuscan olive fields and vineyard strewn hills, onto Sorrento and Rome, skirting the dramatic Amalfi coastline to the toe of Italy, and over to Sicily for the final stage, an 18km continuous ascent up Europe's tallest active volcano, Mt. Etna, at an average 7% gradient (the equivalent of riding up Ketts Hill but all the way to Wymondham).

It was the fifth consecutive year these cyclists and their support crew have swapped their padded office chairs for padded shorts in order to complete an 'end to end' challenge, having already cycled Lands End to John O'Groats and Calais to St Tropez, but 2014 promises to be their most challenging and ambitious ride yet.

And the latest trip helped to raise £2,377 for the Rachel Lane Fund. Rachel battled cancer for five years and her courage and inspiration touched many people. Her Fund was set up to carry on the fundraising started by Rachel who passed away on October 22 2012 aged just 27. Shwas a friend and colleague of Carl West, one of the riders on the epic journey. All monies raised from the Italian Job ride will be managed by Norfolk Community Foundation and will be shared between local charities including Star Throwers and Big C.

Group organiser Kevin Horne said: 'It is a pleasure to be able to raise funds for a local charity with such a close connection to our community…this makes the inevitable suffering very worthwhile.'