Cyclists get set to go Round the Island to raise money for The Ellen MacArthur Trust 26/5/06

At 7am on Saturday 3 June, 15 cyclists will set off to ride round the Isle of Wight at the same time as The Ellen MacArthur Trust’s Scarlet Oyster sets off in the Round the Island Race. Rather than line honours, the cyclists and sailors will be racing for the honour of who raises the most amounts of cash for charity.

By encouraging all entrants to make their Round the Island Race count this year and race for charity, JPMorgan Asset Management are supporting The Ellen MacArthur Trust’s simultaneous sponsored bike ride and boat race around the Island. Both cyclists and sailors will be raising funds for the charity.

When JPMorgan Asset Management’s Managing Director and Head of UK, Campbell Fleming heard the story of one of the young Ellen MacArthur Trust sailors fight against cancer, the company agreed to offer support.

“I was touched when I heard the story of one of the young people, who three days before last year’s Round the Island Race was given the devastating news that his bone cancer had returned. He still raced in the Round the Island Race with The Ellen MacArthur Trust, but two days later was back in hospital to undergo a bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy. Through his treatment he lost 6 1/2 stone, but has made a full recovery and I am delighted that he will be back racing with The Ellen MacArthur Trust in this year’s race.”

The 15 cyclists who have volunteered to cycle the 56 miles around the Island six miles more than the sailors, are JPMorgan staff, friends of The Ellen MacArthur Trust, and relatives of Beau Curtis who sailed with The Trust in 2005, following his recovery from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Ellen MacArthur Trust patron and double Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson will be firing the starting pistol for the cyclists, and will be at the official finishing line in Cowes Yacht Haven. Both the bikes and boat are expected to take around nine hours to complete their respective journeys.

On the water, Scarlet Oyster will be skippered Gordon Appleby, will be racing with five children aged 14-20 who have all previously participated in one of the Trusts four day sailing trips. Two boys and three girls from Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Essex and France will race in what is the third largest sporting participation event in the UK.

Ellen MacArthur is a fan of the race. “The Round the Island Race is one of the greatest races in the calendar. It is a rare opportunity for boats of all classes and sailors of all abilities, both professional and amateur to come together on the water. This is the second time The Ellen MacArthur Trust has taken the kids out on the water, and I know that they loved every second of last year’s race.”