A BRAND new fundraising festival taking place this year is gathering pace.
This year the first ever Cyclefest in Evesham will span three weekends in September and see cyclists riding across the country to raise money for the Evesham Bell Tower campaign.
The Abbey Bell Tower appeal, which has been backed by the Journal since its launch last summer, needs to raise £500,000 to carry out essential repair and conservation work to the 16th century building and organisers are hoping this event will help boost their total.
The event will kick off on Saturday, September 6, when Sir Peter Luff, MP, will be at the Bell Tower to see off riders taking part in The Big One, a three day, 250 mile, sponsored bike ride from the Bell Tower to Big Ben and back.
The following Sunday there will be a real celebration of pedal power in the town when the Market Square, Bell Tower and church courtyards will be packed full of stalls, displays and exhibits.
Evesham's international cycling champion, Michelle Parsons, a patron of the Bell Tower Appeal, will also be giving an inspirational talk.
There will be two bike rides taking place on the Sunday, the family one, a 20 mile ride from the tower to Pershore and back leaving at 10.45am. Then at 3pm the town one departs and this will be a one to six mile ride around Evesham.
Cyclefest ends on Sunday, September 21, with the club one, a 40 to 70 mile ride hosted by Evesham Wheelers.
Sue Ablett, chair of the Bell Tower Appeal committee and the Cyclefest committee, said: "We are incredibly lucky to have a group of people, who are real cycling enthusiasts and are working incredibly hard to bring the Cyclefest to fruition.
"We have the backing of Wychavon, and the generous support of Tesco, who will be providing sponsorship in a number of ways.
"We hope this will raise significant funds for the Bell Tower Appeal, but we are all committed to helping to raise the profile of cycling in the community, and to putting on a festival that will become an important part of Evesham’s annual calendar.
"Following on from the planned Cyclefest in Honeybourne in June, we really think this is a fantastic opportunity to put Evesham firmly on the map as a centre for cycling. It would be great to think that this will become an annual fixture."
Anyone who can offer some help as a volunteer driver during the events and those who wish to take part can visit eveshambelltower.org.uk or contact Sue Ablett on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07871285606.