The inaugural Tour de Test Valley cycle sportive raised over £40,000 for suicide prevention charity at the weekend in memory of pro snowboarder and keen cyclist Nelson Pratt.
Over 600 cyclists took to the roads of the stunning Test Valley in Hampshire on Saturday September 7th to take part in the event, established in memory of pro snow boarder and keen cyclist, Nelson Pratt, who took his own life last year.
The event raised over £40,000 for male suicide prevention charity, CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably). The donations – which are still coming in and are set to hit a total of £50,000 – will help CALM continue their vital work towards preventing the biggest single killer of young men in the UK – suicide.
Nelson’s best friend and event organiser, Marcus Chapman, said: “When Chris Pratt [Nelson’s brother] and I began chatting about putting a cycle sportive together to honour Nelson’s memory, we could only have dreamed of the response we had and how the event unfolded on the day.”
“With about 650 riders hitting the roads on the day, it surpassed our wildest thoughts and we are incredibly humbled by both the reaction from riders, friends and family, and the sheer amount of money raised – which is looking like we may hit close to £50,000.”
“This would not have been possible without the unbelievable support of the Pratt Family (Nelson’s Mum made 500 brownies and 300 sandwiches!), CALM, loyal friends, VANS, Madison, Twinings, Gary the mechanic and loads more! Nelson was a unique, special human being – and with this event we hope we have created something that honours those virtues. RIDE ON NELLY.”
With the choice of 25, 50 or 100 mile routes taking in stunning scenery and some punishing terrain, cyclists of all ages donned their lycra and pedalled bikes, cruisers and even tandems deep into the Hampshire countryside. The event met with universal praise from riders.
Cycling journalist, David Else, took part on the day: “I have to say that yesterday’s ride was one of the best sportives I’ve ever done. From the festival vibe on the field at 7am, via the beautiful route, friendly feed-stations, top-notch signing and en route camaraderie, to the genuinely welcoming atmosphere at the finish, I really couldn’t fault it. A massive well done to all the organisers, helpers and everyone else on the team behind the scenes.”
With this year’s event being such a success, organisers aim to establish the Tour de Test Valley as a regular event in the cycle sportive calendar and to continue raising awareness of the issue of male suicide.
Jane Powell, Director of CALM, said: “It was a brilliant event. Given the sheer numbers of cyclists involved and money raised, alongside the feel-good factor that coloured the day, the event has instantly gained legendary status at CALM and has established a remarkable legacy for Nelson and his family.”
To find out more about CALM go to their website at www.thecalmzone.net