By Gary Smee 05/04 Updated: 12/04 12:06
THE TEAM of cyclists in the middle of a gruelling 1,400 mile fund-raiser have been given a tremendous boost to help them get to the finish line.
Eleven members of Evesham Rugby Club are pedalling from Rome to Evesham as a tribute to teammate Matt Brace who died last year at the age of just 25 after a fall at club social event.
They were also looking to raise a total of £20,000 for Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital to say thanks to staff who battled to save Matt's life after his accident.
As the cyclists set off last Friday (March 30) the target was in sight but this week the hospital's chief executive, Mike Hammond, revealed they had reached it and they could now start negotiating with various suppliers of state of the art medical equipment for the neurology department.
Surgeons from the neurology team want to put the money towards a Brainlab system which gives real time images of the brain and means they can identify exactly where to cut into the skull using the smallest possible incision.
Normally this piece of equipment costs in the region of £60,000 but the hospital charity has managed to agree a reduced price of £29,000 if the equipment can be ordered by next month.
Knowing that they have at least £20,000 coming from the All Roads Lead to Evesham fund-raiser means they can go ahead and order the system - effectively doubling the benefit.
Adam Huttlestone, one of the cyclists currently making their way through the south of France, was thrilled with the news.
"We thought £20,000 would really make a difference," he said.
"Now we have the opportunity to help buy a £60,000 piece of kit, just from one event. We are all ecstatic. It certainly helps our legs keep turning, knowing that."
Mr Hammond praised the cyclists for their amazing dedication and fund-raising.
"This turn of events will mean, without doubt, that patients can have safer brain surgery, with reduced recovery times and better surgical outcomes."
The team are now hoping to raise the £29,000 needed to buy the equipment.
Everyone is welcome to come to Evesham Rugby Club at 2pm on Sunday, April 15 to cheer the weary cyclists home.
To keep up to date with the latest news on the cycle log onto www.allroadsleadtoevesham.com.
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