Animal loving family cycle more than 500km for RSPCA

One family has put the brakes on lockdown blues by taking on a cycle challenge for the RSPCA.

Whether taking a spin on an exercise bike or hitting the pedals out in the countryside, Charlie Owen and her family each cycled a chunk of the 500km distance to raise money for the animal welfare charity in its time of need.

Charlie, from Beverely in East Yorkshire, said: “Especially at the moment during the COVID-19 crisis, we understand the difficulties faced by charities and as a family of animal lovers we wanted to do our bit and give something back. We decided to collectively cycle 500km on 24 May and aimed to raise £500.

“There were 11 of us in the challenge, all of different capabilities, age and confidence – and we are pleased to say we cycled 522km and have managed to raise £1,100 so we doubled our target. Thank you to the 54 supporters who kindly donated these challenging times.”

Charlie and her partner Stephen Gilpin volunteered to do the most cycling as it was their idea but together the family managed to smash their target and achieve an even greater distance than intended.

Charlie explained: “I follow the RSPCA in Instagram and I’ve seen ‘Cruelty doesn’t stop n a crisis’ campaign and instantly wanted to help. I understand that charities have been hit really hard during the COVID-19 crisis and as they rely purely on public donations, I imagine these donations and income from high street stores and cancelled fundraising activities have had a huge impact on the charity.

“I didn’t want animals to be the forgotten party in the COVID-19 crisis so that is why I chose to help the RSPCA.”

Charlie set up a Whatsapp group and asked her whole family to be involved, with ages ranging from 15 to 61. This included her sister and brother-in-law, Stephanie and Aaron Field in Solihull, her mum and dad, Karen and Roy Owen in Sutton Coldfield, her auntie Claire, and her Uncle Steve, who wasn’t able to cycle but became the family’s very own ‘Mr Motivator’ for the day.

They were also joined by cousins Izzy and Frankie Owen, Frankie’s boyfriend Tom Olieff from Doncaster, and cousin Karl Platt in Northampton.

Charlie added: “We all kept in touch during the day and as long as we got the 500km as a collective, it didn’t matter if some people did more and some did a little less – in the end 522km was a brilliant result.

“It was very exhausting; Stephen and I did 70km each and by 68km I had really hit a wall and those last 2km were the worst but it felt amazing afterwards seeing just how many donations we had come through on the actual day.”

Charlie who works as a Talent Manager, and Stephen who works as a Physio have a nine-month old Golden Retriever called Ashbie who has become part of the family, and her parents have two rescue dogs called Digger and Howard, so they are very much a family of animal lovers.

The RSPCA has come up with lots of ways people can take on virtual challenge events and fundraise at home. Those interested in raising funds to help animals in need can find out more here.