published: February 02, 2017 By Phil Harnett

Marathon bike ride raises £30,000 for Downs Syndrome Association

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Charity cyclist Stuart Bayne raised more than £30,000 on his marathon ride through New Zealand.

Stuart, who is Sales Manager – North for NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, cycled 2108km (1309 miles), climbing more than 14,000 metres, during his epic journey from Bluff at the southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island to Cape Reinga, the northern-most part of the country, to raise funds for the Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA).

His journey was made more arduous as he had to alter his route after two simultaneous major Earthquakes struck north of Christchurch closing a number of roads he planned to travel on.

But his fund-raising efforts were rewarded with £23,661.74 being raised for the DSA in the UK and a further $11,627 NZ (£6689.70) for the DSA in New Zealand.

Stuart, a 53-year-old father-of-three, said he is extremely grateful for the level of support that he has received, not only from major sponsors NGK UK and NGK Europe and Australia, but also from many of the company’s customers in all industry sectors, from automotive to horticultural, making specific reference to Key Skills Recruitment (Wellington/Tauranga) in New Zealand and Cobra Garden Machinery for their support.

He said: “I have been overwhelmed by the level of support I have received from everyone and would like to thank all those who have donated to the DSA.”

In 2015, Stuart, from Haverhill, Suffolk, completed an 1100-kilometre (683-mile) sponsored cycle ride through Europe to raise more than £17,000 for the DSA and says that experience helped him in his New Zealand endeavours.

He said: “Fortunately all the hard work I put in during my preparation paid dividends. It was hard work, but I knew that if I dug in deep I would be Okay as long as my body and my bike could keep going.

“I had practised in hilly terrain in Derbyshire so I knew how to handle the climbs and really didn’t have too many problems. However, I would advise anyone planning a similar thing to put in the hard work in training beforehand if not they would have no chance of being successful.”

Marko Wowczyna, Automotive Director, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “On behalf of everyone at NGK I would like to thank all our customers who have supported Stuart. We have been raising funds for the DSA at various events all over the country and have received fantastic backing. I would also like to pay tribute to Stuart himself for surpassing his previous incredible achievement.”