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A bike ride between Brussels and Cologne has raised more than £35,000 for Albion in the Community (AITC).

More than 30 cyclists took part in AITC's 146-mile ride between the Belgian and German cities and money raised by the event will now help fund the charity’s football sessions for people with a disability.

AITC, which is the official charity of Brighton & Hove Albion, has 30 such sessions that take place throughout Sussex and are attended by more than 300 people every fortnight....

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Brussels to Cologne bike ride raises £35,000 for Albion in the Community

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A bike ride between Brussels and Cologne has raised more than £35,000 for Albion in the Community (AITC).

More than 30 cyclists took part in AITC’s 146-mile ride between the Belgian and German cities and money raised by the event will now help fund the charity’s football sessions for people with a disability.

AITC, which is the official charity of Brighton & Hove Albion, has 30 such sessions that take place throughout Sussex and are attended by more than 300 people every fortnight. These cost between £1,800 and £5,000 a year to run, making fundraising events like the recent bike ride vital to the charity.

The mother of one of AITC’s regular participants was keen to point out the impact the charity has had on her son – and to thank those who took part in the bike ride.

Leanne Sammars, whose 20-year-old son Ryan has autism and has been playing football with AITC for four years, had this message for the cyclists: “When Ryan began with AITC he was introverted, did not like new experiences and had never found enjoyment in sport. Over the past four years we have seen him go from a boy who struggled to kick and pass a ball, to someone who can’t wait for his next session.

“You cannot imagine the joy that these sessions bring.

“Fundraising events like the bike ride help AITC change lives in so many ways and I cannot thank the people who took part enough.”

This was the fifth time AITC has staged a European cycle challenge, having previously visited Paris (twice), Brussels and Amsterdam, and the event was again generously supported by American Express. A number of Amex employees also took part, alongside a mix of Albion fans, cycling enthusiasts and Seagulls legends Guy Butters and Danny Cullip.

The cycling was split over two days, with riders cycling the 94 miles between Brussels and Aachen on day one, before completing the 52 miles to Cologne the following day. They then enjoyed an evening and morning taking in the sights of the historic German city.

Emma Brockhurst, who organised the ride for AITC, said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part in what was another fantastic bike ride.

“The money raised by the ride will now make a genuine difference to the lives of the many people we work with.”

For more information on how to get involved with fundraising for AITC, email: fundraising@albioninthecommunity.org.uk.