THE Nello cycle ride, FORCE Cancer Charity’s flagship fundraising event of the year, is back for 2023 and will again be coming through villages around Crediton on Sunday, June 25.

The ride is now in its 24th year and has raised more than £1.2 million for FORCE, which offers free support to anyone locally affected by cancer.

It’s expected that up to 1,000 cyclists will take part this year with the usual 100 or 60 mile routes available.

The Nello, sponsored by Crediton-based Bike Shed, starts and finishes at Topsham and the first refreshment stop for everyone is in Tiverton.

Cyclists on the 100 mile ride head to Dulverton, climb on to Exmoor and begin their return via South Molton.

The 60-milers leave Tiverton and pedal across country through Withleigh, Nomansland, Black Dog, Brownstone and Morchard Bishop.

The routes converge at Morchard Road where there’s the chance for a final boost of energy from a wide selection of food and drink before the final stretch to the finish back at Topsham.

The ride avoids the centre of Crediton, taking the lanes around Shobrooke, Efford and Shute, re-joining the A377 near Cowley Bridge and returns through Exeter.

It’s not a race, it’s not timed – riders take part for the atmosphere, the camaraderie, to support a fantastic cause and for the food!

“It’s a very inclusive event,” said FORCE’s Acting Head of Income Generation Olly Watts.

“Everyone is welcome and any sort of bike is permitted. There’s a growing trend in electric bikes and there’s no problem with Nello cyclists using one. It’s all about taking part.”

The success of the event is based on the variety of people who get involved – cancer patients, families, FORCE supporters and keen cyclists or those using the ride as a personal challenge.

“The Nello is one of Devon’s most iconic outdoor events. The buzz on the start line is amazing and we are really looking forward to enjoying the unique atmosphere that The Nello brings when it returns in June,” said Olly.

FORCE is rebuilding its services after taking a savage hit to its income during the pandemic.

The charity is seeing increased demand for support as the devastating effects of Covid on our healthcare system become apparent.

Money raised from The Nello plays an important part in helping FORCE support people in the local community who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

FORCE stands for Friends of the Oncology and Radiotherapy Centre Exeter.  The charity was founded in 1987.

FORCE works locally to offer face-to-face support for anyone affected by cancer.

It provides help for patients, their families and friends at its Support Centre in the grounds of the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

It also funds a local research programme and has spent more than £1million on high-tech equipment to enhance patient care at the hospital. 

In 2014 it launched outreach services in Tiverton and Okehampton and began funding the delivery of chemotherapy in Tiverton in 2017.

In 2018 the outreach chemotherapy service was extended to Okehampton and, during the same year, support and chemotherapy services were launched in Honiton, later switching to a new cancer hub in Ottery St Mary.

All FORCE services are offered free-of-charge. 

The charity receives no regular NHS or government funding and needs to raise up to £1.7 million every year to maintain its services.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, FORCE continued to offer support via telephone and video calling until face-to-face contact could resume.

Chemotherapy treatment in Ottery St Mary, initially delivered by FORCE-funded nursing staff, also continues.

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