By Jim Allen

The 5th and 6th of June saw 20 riders from across the UK take part in a charity cycle challenge to raise money for St Oswald’s Hospice in Newcastle. Cundall, who organised the ride, brought team members from their Newcastle, London and Edinburgh offices to join clients from Newcastle and Sheffield for the Sandstone Way Challenge.

The Sandstone Way, a 193km, off-road mountain biking trail opened this year after years of research and funding. The route covers some of the wildest terrain in Northumberland and stretches between Berwick upon Tweed and Hexham.  I am very proud of how well everyone managed the Sandstone Way Challenge we set them – especially those who had never mountain biked before their preparation for this challenge. The ride was tough, over grassy fields, muddy bridleways and trails.

Despite winds of over 50mph on the Saturday, everyone managed to complete the trail and in doing so, raised over £5,000 for St Oswald’s Hospice. I am amazed by the generosity of everyone within and external to Cundall who have contributed to the fundraising for St Oswald’s Hospice.  Fundraising activities in the offices before the challenge including a Pizza lunch, a sponsored silence and a chilli eating contest which can be viewed below.

Top nine memories from the day

The sun shone, the wind howled and everyone was smiling at the end.

Memorable highlights include:

  1. Stuart Mark’s grey tights (memorable for all the wrong reasons) and his ability to eat more than double his own bodyweight at every  opportunity
  2. Steven Smithwhite’s novel use of suncream (applied where the sun never shines, after a long day in the saddle)
  3. The sheer variety of route options selected by some of the participants (i.e. they got lost…………or dare I say it………..cheated)
  4. Damien and Dan from Newcastle civil team – the cycling terminators! Damien even cycled home 20km with his overnight bag when we got back after the end of the ride.
  5. The generosity of everyone within and external to Cundall who has contributed to the fundraising behind this ride for St Oswalds Hospice
  6. Cola flavoured power shots – if you’ve had them, I don’t need to explain. If you’ve never tried them, you won’t understand but don’t eat them just before you go to bed
  7. The predilection of some senior partners within the practice (naming no names but I’m sure you can work it out) for mud face packs – perhaps it’s an age thing……………..or just poor balance on a bike
  8. Only three punctures for the entire group over the first 100 miles and then about fifteen punctures over the last 20 miles
  9. Stuart Mark’s grey tights (arrrgh – unfortunately an image indelibly burned into my memory – the basis of nightmares for years to come no doubt)
Stuart's haunting grey leggings

Stuart’s haunting grey leggings

St Oswald’s will use the money to purchase specialist beds for their Children and Young Adult’s Service, which offers short breaks and respite to young people with life-limiting conditions across the region. Donations are still being accepted for the ride and can be made at

Find out more about Cundall –

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. I’ll be wearing the tights at work next week since they were so popular. Mountain bikers are far too prudish!



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Charitable Work, Jim Allen


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