YOUNG cadets braved the cold November night on Monday to cycle 151 miles for a good cause and raise £1,300.

The Swindon Fire Cadets took part in a sponsored bike ride of 604 laps around the athletics track at the County Ground to raise money for Cycling 4 Health.

Their parents also baked cakes to sell at the side of the track and boost the fundraising total.

The Cycling 4 Health centre was launched in 2010 and uses specially-adapted bikes and trikes to allow youngsters with disabilities to cycle freely.

The 16 cadets cycled the distance from London to Cardiff in just one hour.

Watch Manager Mark Evans from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, who runs the cadet group, said: “I’m chuffed to bits with the total, the cadets did really well, they’ve really surpassed themselves.

“The cadet scheme only started in September so it’s great to see these young people really embracing their role in the community and organising a fundraiser for a good local cause.

The scheme gives youngsters aged 12 to 16 the chance to earn a BTEC qualification and get a taste of what it’s like to be a firefighter.

After half an hour of theory in the classroom, the cadets head out for practical sessions doing rope rescue drills, smoke-houses and other firefighting training activities.

They also have to complete three social action projects during the 38-week course and this sponsored cycle was the first.

Nicky Parker is one of the cadets’ instructors.

She said: “They were exhausted afterwards but they loved it.

“We asked the cadets what they wanted to do to raise money and they all came up with ideas.

“Several of them chose doing a bike ride and wanted to put money towards purchasing, repairing and adapting bikes to make cycling accessible for people who aren’t independent.

“This course is all about promoting a message of safety as well as highlighting the work of the fire service.”

“My sons go to Cycling 4 Health and they love being able to ride along with their friends and having the freedom that cycling gives them.”

Ben Humphrey, Live Well Manager from Cycling 4 Health, said: “I am very thankful for the Fire Cadets fundraising for our disability cycling projects.

“The wonderful inclusive specialist equipment is very expensive, and the clients and instructors are very grateful for the support.

“We look forward to working with them again in the future.”

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