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Diss Cyclathon in danger of folding

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A major sporting event which has brought Diss national acclaim is in danger of folding.

Thousands of riders have taken part in the four years the annual Diss Cyclathon has been held.

But it will not go ahead next year unless new organisers come forward.

Alan Franks says this year’s Cyclathon attracted more than 1,000 riders. Picture by Mecha Morton.
Alan Franks says this year’s Cyclathon attracted more than 1,000 riders. Picture by Mecha Morton.

“The organisers who have built the event up to be one of the town’s greatest attractions have decided to step down at the end of the year,” the Cyclathon has announced.

“It is affiliated to Cycling UK, the country’s leading cycling charity, and sponsored by Midwich, the town’s largest employer. Both will continue their support if a suitable new team can be established to manage it.”

Organisation of the event has been led by Neil Collins, Alan Franks and Jess Cook.

Although they have had the support of many volunteer helpers – who are willing to assist new organisers – they no can no longer dedicate the time it takes to arrange the annual event.

Mr Collins said: “Ideally we would have liked someone to have started work with us last year to then carry it on and bring in their own ideas.

“It has always been an event to embrace everyone which was the appeal for Cycling UK. It has always been volunteer-based but we wanted to make it a professionally-organised event.”

Mr Franks said it had been “gratifying” to see the Cyclathon grow to a significant event. “When we started we thought we would break even if we got 200 riders but we got 750. This year it was more than 1,000.”

Encouraging new organisers to come forward, he said all the infrastructure was in place for next year and promised support to anyone who volunteered to take over.

The event has always been designed for all ages and all abilities over routes of 25 to 100 miles.

Families and fun riders take part over the shorter distances and for the more serious cyclists a Nine Town Sportive takes in the nine market towns around Diss.

The event has also raised more than £40,000 for good causes which helped it to win Best Cycling Event in Cycling UK’s Volunteer of the Year awards in 2018.

Any organisers who do come forward will also have the support of Diss Town Council. In a statement, the council said: “The Diss Cyclathon is a popular annual event for Diss town and the surrounding area. We’d obviously like to see this event continue and if the town council can help the former event team in finding new organisers to deliver this very worthwhile event, we will endeavour to do so.

“This event has raised much needed funds for worthwhile causes and following its year-on-year success, there is a solid framework in place for any new team to be able to continue the good work that has been achieved in previous years.”

Causes financially supported by the not-for-profit event include the East Anglian Air Ambulance, Diss Carnival and the Corn Hall.

Other support it has given include nationally-recognised Bikeability training to local schools, donating a set of medicine balls for Diss Athletics Club, and providing a free bike service and safety gear for paper delivery boys and girls.

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Anybody interested in taking the event forward should contact thomas.page@CyclingUK.org

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