A CYCLIST is set to pedal more than 200 miles across the country to raise funds for BARB Search and Rescue.

Andy Brewer, former mayor of Burnham and Highbridge, will be cycling from Burnham-On-Crouch in Essex to Burnham-On-Sea in September to raise funds for the rescue charity to help it continue to operate its two life-saving rescue hovercrafts and an inshore rescue boat.

The charity, which was formed in 1992, relies entirely on donations from the public and is run by volunteers.

Andy said he was inspired to take on the challenge after seeing other people take on fundraising challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic including Captain Tom Moore who raised £23million for the NHS.

“BARB provides an essential service in keeping our coastline safe and the charity is wholly dependent on voluntary contributions, much of which is achieved via local fundraising activities that have not been possible since restrictions were introduced to help prevent the spread of coronavirus," Andy said.

“Over the past few months I’ve been cycling to keep myself fit and active and I’ve been inspired by some of the high profile fundraising challenges for our key workers.

"Whilst I wouldn’t dare to compare myself with the likes of Captain Tom Moore, I want to give myself a challenge that can be used to raise much-needed funds for Burnham’s hovercraft rescue service, enabling them to maintain their training schedule and continue to provide their service.

“In the past I’ve completed a number of Coast to Coast cycle rides in different parts of the country, ranging from 14 miles in Cornwall to 136 miles in the Lake District; and for this challenge I propose to cycle approximately 200 miles from Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex to Burnham-on-Sea.”

The event, which is due take place on September 4and 5, is being sponsored by Burnham-On-Sea’s Retreat Caravan Park, who have been a long-running supporter of the charity.

A spokesperson at BARB, said: “We are hugely grateful to Andy for taking on this challenge and the Retreat Caravan Park for their continuing support of BARB.

“We are a small, independent charity that is fully dependent on donations to keep our life-saving service running and this year has been especially challenging, with fundraising halted for several months.

"We need to raise thousands of pounds every year to keep running, so fundraising events like this make a real difference.”

“We wish Andy every success and we will have two of our team travelling along the cycling with him to provide support.”

See https://www.justgiving.com/barb-jg to make a donation towards Andy’s cycling fundraiser for BARB