St Ives cyclist to complete six challenges in aid of charity

Fay Hardwidge, 10, with her dad, Anthony (left) and Sam Sly.

Fay Hardwidge, 10, with her dad, Anthony (left) and Sam Sly. - Credit: Archant

A carpenter from St Ives is taking on six cycling challenges over six months covering 365 miles in aid of a charity close to his family’s heart.

Sam Sly, 39, and Anthony Hardwidge, 43, who is his cousin Lucy’s husband, are raising funds for Caring Matters Now (CMN).

Anthony’s daughter, Fay, 10, is the inspiration. She was born with a rare condition, Congenital Melanocytic Naevus, or CMN for short, that means 70 per cent of her body is covered with a birthmark.

It occurs in only about one child in 30,000 and is a gene development before birth. The danger is that it can carry a higher risk of skin cancer.

But Fay, from Cambourne, has not let her “chocolate marks” – how she described her shadings as a small child – stop her swimming, dancing and playing netball.

Fay’s mum, Lucy, who has two younger children, Amy, eight and Toby, two, neither of whom has CMN, works for the charity which shares its name with the condition’s abbreviated form.

The organisation arranges family days so children and parents with CMN can meet and it promotes awareness. It also raises money for research at Great Ormond Street.

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Lucy said: “Fay is a kind and caring, happy, confident little girl. She has met other children who have the condition so she knows she is not alone. She enjoys school and she has a great network of friends.

“She has never shied away from joining in. She has regular checks at Great Ormond Street and the condition is a constant worry for us but the way we deal with it is to enjoy everyday life and get on with life and that’s what she does. She’s chuffed to bits about the bike rides. She loves the support she gets.”

The first of the six rides was on Sunday, March 22. Anthony and Sam took on the Richardsons Four Counties Challenge, which started in St Ives. They cycled the 67 miles in four hours.

The next, 73-mile, ride will be on April 19, The Wiggle Super Series, starting in Newmarket.

In May, the third ride, 50 miles, will be the Cambridge 50100, from Impington. The London to Cambridge and the London to Brighton, 60 miles and 54 miles will be on July 26 and September 6. The final race will be the 61-mile Wiggle Steeple Chase Challenge starting at Huntingdon Racecourse on September 26.

INFORMATION: To support the pair, visit www.justgiving.comcycle4cmn. For more on CMN, go to