Starting out as a charity challenge with 35 riders in 2013, three years later the Football to Amsterdam bike ride from Prostate Cancer UK and the EFL has reached an incredible £1million fundraising landmark this week.
Now in its fourth year, Prostate Cancer UK took the EFL’s annual end of season fundraiser to new heights from 3-5 June as a record-breaking field of 350 riders raised more than £425,000, swelling the overall pot since the event’s inception to seven figures.
As the Official Charity Partner of the EFL, Prostate Cancer UK inspired over 50 EFL clubs to take part from not one but three Grand Departs making it the biggest ride to date. One group of riders rolled out of London from a new starting point at the iconic Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s Lee Valley VeloPark, while two further groups kicked off at Barnsley FC’s Oakwell Stadium and Portman Road, home of Ipswich Town FC.
On the eve of the European Championships, there was a former England star on each leg as Luther Blissett, Terry Butcher and Viv Anderson joined a bumper field, all riding 145 miles and raising money to stop prostate cancer being a killer.
The substantial sum raised will help ‘shift the science’ and crack the three core issues of diagnosis, treatment and prevention, which have been left unsolved for too long. It will also help provide support and information to those affected by the disease.
From the initial event in 2013 with a small group of 35 riders setting off from Wembley and raising £30,000, Football to Amsterdam has proved a phenomenal success throughout its four years and the 2017 challenge, which runs from 9-11 June has already generated a host of interest.
James Beeby, Director of Fundraising at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “To raise one million pounds is a fantastic achievement and proves that from small acorns mighty oaks can grow.
“We have been blown away by the progression of this ride over the past four years, and being able to host a record-breaking peloton across three different starting points with riders representing the football family proves its success. That amazing cast of riders from across the UK show a brilliant demonstration of what we call Men United: people joining one team to fight a common opposition – prostate cancer.
“Ignoring prostate cancer will not beat it, and the money raised by our fantastic riders will fund ground-breaking research to help fight the disease. That will help us provide dedicated support and information to men and their families affected by this disease.
“One man every hour dies from prostate cancer; it’s the most common cancer in men, but we want to make prostate cancer a disease that the next generation of men do not fear. We thank Stacey (Stacey was the fourth top fundraiser from the London leg raising £3,174.14) and all of the intrepid riders from Dagenham & Redbridge for joining the fight and look forward to an even bigger event in 2017.”
Many people are unaware that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It’s a huge issue that cannot be ignored. In 2016 one man an hour will die from prostate cancer in the UK. That’s 10,900 men this year. Based on current trends, if we ignore prostate cancer and do nothing, this number will rise to over 14,500 men a year by 2026.
People are urged to search Men United and join the fight.
Ben Wright, Commercial Director of the EFL said: “Seeing so many EFL clubs represented by staff, supporters and former players not to mention experiencing the spirit among the packed peloton, highlights what a great event the Football to Amsterdam bike ride is. This is yet another example of the power of football, and how the beautiful game can make a massive difference to those affected by a disease that affects all too many men, their families and their friends.
““We are proud of our long term charity partnership with Prostate Cancer UK and it’s great to see the ever-popular Football to Amsterdam ride reach a landmark fundraising figure in 2016.
“Hot on the heels of the Sky Bet Play-offs, once again the Football to Amsterdam ride has proved to be very successful as the EFL’s end of season annual fundraiser and we look forward to working with Prostate Cancer UK to help this terrific event develop even further in 2017.”
For information about taking part in the 2017 ride go to prostatecanceruk.org/amsterdam
or contact the cycling team by calling 020 8222 7158 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org