Sheffield Rides Across Britain
A team of twenty from the University of Sheffield has recently completed the Deloitte Ride Across Britain 2014
The Team, comprising lecturers, researchers, support staff, professional services, a student and the Students’ Union Sports Officer took on the challenge to raise money for deafness research, a subject which many of them have experienced first-hand. Team SUFFER (Sheffield University Fundraising For ‘Earing Research) undertook the 969 mile cycle ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats, over a period of nine days.
The team included a range of riders, from avid cyclists to absolute novices but they all shared a determination to reach their goal and to complete the mammoth ride. And thanks to a recent innovation from the University, the Team SUFFER jerseys were cleaning the air as they cycled. All the shirts were imbued with the same catalytic compound as was used on the ‘In Praise of Air’ poster, which when exposed to sunlight, reacts and binds with nitrogen oxide pollutants and purified the air around them.
The gruelling route was designed to challenge but also take in a range of wonderful sights across the UK including: Cheddar Gorge, the Severn Bridge, Shap Fell and the North Lakes, Loch Ness and Ben Nevis. And with such terrain came another challenge, a climb of around 15km over the nine day journey!
On completion of the ride Professor Ryan reflected that: “The euphoria at the finish was palpable and some team members slept with their medals around their necks. Everyone hugged everyone else, said goodbye to friends they’d met along the journey from other teams, and gathered together for a chaotic photo – glass of champagne in hand.
“This is a group of staff, students and alumni who have come together and made a team, built relationships that will support them in the future, raised a tidy sum for the cause and learned a lot about being a cyclist rather than someone who rides a bike.”
The Team all completed the mammoth journey, and in doing so have raised over £30,000 for hearing research. Hearing loss is a major issue in the UK. As Matthew Holley, Professor in Hearing Research at the University of Sheffield and member of Team SUFFER says: “in the UK alone it affects 10 million people and that number will go to 14 million within the next 15 years.”
This number includes over 800,000 people who are severely or profoundly deaf, and a further 45,000 deaf children. Yet despite these figures, and the huge impact it can have on the sufferers and their familys’ lives, hearing loss research is severely under-researched and under-funded.
“We spend about one to two pounds per affected person in the UK and that is about a tenth of what we spend in blindness, it’s about a twentieth of what we spend in terms of diabetes and it’s around about approaching one hundredth of what we spend in heart disease”
Along with Professor Holley, Sheffield has one of the leading and most recognised cross-disciplinary hearing research groups in the world, incorporating physiologists, physicists, biologists and stem cell biologists. As well as raising awareness for this debilitating illness, the Team aims to raise funds to pay for new equipment, and to train up more young researchers to continue the fight.
If you would like to find out more about the Ride, including daily write-ups and pictures please take a look at the #TeamSUFFER web page, and if you would like to support them and help push their donations even higher please take a look at the Donation pages.
The Team would also like to say a massive Thank You to all of our corporate sponsors who have got behind the Team and their challenge. Full details of all the organisations who are supporting Team SUFFER can be found on the Corporate Supporters page.