In 2009 something fantastic was created and that was Huddersfield Town’s Pedal For Pounds fundraising cycle ride. Club ambassador ANDY BOOTH spoke exclusively to Huddersfield Hub and picked out four unforgettable moments from a decade of rides.
In May Pedal For Pounds returns after two years away due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Marketed as Pedal For Pounds 10.5 it is a shorter than usual route but no less challenging.
The cyclists will ride to Harrogate and back before doing a lap around the John Smith’s Stadium ahead of Town’s last game of the season against Bristol City on May 7.
P4P, as it’s known, has grown every year and has now raised over £2m for various causes including the Huddersfield Town Academy, the Town Foundation and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. The cyclists have travelled around the country and into Europe in what, prior to Covid, had become a near annual event.
In 2009 then club chairman Dean Hoyle had a vision of a sponsored bike ride to Southend to raise money for charity. Two years later there was a ride to Brighton, a year after that it was Yeovil. By 2019 10 rides had been completed.
Former striker Andy Booth took on the role of club ambassador after he retired and helping organise P4P was one of his responsibilities. He takes part too, of course, and here are Boothy’s four favourite memories from the saddle.
1. A trip to Southend and the inaugural P4P
Back In 2009 25 brave cyclists made the 240-mile trip to Southend. Among them were Boothy, Dean Hoyle and various other club staff. They raised a cool £51,000. Andy remembers the ride well and says the scenes at the end were amazing.
He recalled: “When Dean came up with the idea I thought it was fantastic and just showed what our football club is all about. I remember the first ride very well. It was difficult as it was such a long way and it was the first one we had done so it was all new to everyone.
“I’ll never forget that moment we got to Southend and there were hundreds of fans cheering us on and clapping us, that to me was a special moment. To see all those fans stood outside congratulating us was just brilliant.”
2 Emotional day at Ypres
Back in 2018 175 cyclists travelled through three countries to complete a 282-mile journey. The journey began on Tuesday May 8 when the riders took an overnight ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge, Belgium, before being transported to their start point in Avelin, France.
The journey would involve visiting war memorials to remember and commemorate those who had played for Huddersfield Town and later given their lives for their country.
The cyclists stopped in the town of Ypres where Dean and Janet Hoyle and Boothy laid a wreath from the club.
Boothy said: “When we laid the wreath it was so moving and emotional. A club like Huddersfield Town had brought 200 people all the way there and to do something which was powerful and memorable to me was just amazing.
“The Last Post played and everyone was just thankful to be there to pay their respects. That has to be one of the most memorable moments for me.”
3. 10 years of success and the Chairman’s Choice
In 2019 the P4P team set off on a journey which was picked by Dean Hoyle called the Chairman’s Choice. The cyclists began their journey in Belgium on April 30 as they visited the cities of Bruges and Antwerp. They then crossed the border into the Netherlands and rode to the Dutch capital of Amsterdam before cycling to The Hague and on to the port of Rotterdam.
The riders then took the overnight ferry to Hull before cycling back to Huddersfield on May 4 in time for Town’s end of season home game against Manchester United. All told the cyclists did an unbelievable 313 miles.
Looking back Boothy said: “The ferry trips are always great fun and there is a real fun atmosphere. What is great is that we also have Leeds fans join us and do the ride too so it’s not just Town fans.
“However on this particular ferry trip we got everyone together and someone had put together a 30-minute film about our rides over the past 10 years. That was just amazing to watch, to see the journeys we’d been on and the experiences we’d had. It was quite emotional watching it all back.”
4 The bike debacle! Boothy’s saddle slip up!
Over the past decade the P4P scheme has been run incredibly professionally and so there haven’t been many things to go wrong, apart from the odd rider coming off their bike. However, something Boothy will never be allowed to forget is the Mysterious Case of the Missing Bikes!
Boothy said: “We were doing the ride in honour of David Wagner and we were going from Dortmund in Germany back to Huddersfield. We caught the ferry from Hull to Rotterdam in the Netherlands and then got on a coach to take us to Dortmund.
“Everything up to that point had run perfectly. I told the cyclists to be ready at the hotel reception for 8am. I told them the bikes would be there and waiting for them ready to set off.
“Well, when I got a call at 7.50am telling me the bikes were still in Belgium I was panicking. I got all the cyclists ready to go and the bikes were in a different country!
“What happened was that there was a crash in Dover so they got stuck there and couldn’t catch the ferry they needed. I did know about that and it was going to be OK because they were still going to make it ready for us to go.
“However what I didn’t know was that there was a fatality on the motorways whilst driving to Germany and so the lorry driver was stuck in traffic for eight hours. It was unfortunate circumstances but to explain to 175 cyclists that we hadn’t got the bikes was difficult. They all were OK with it and so we got the bikes a few hours later meeting them at another checkpoint.
“I can tell you whilst the ride went well, for those three or so hours I was stressed. No one has let me forget the day I forgot the bikes!
“People laugh about it now and they did at the time too but, to be fair, it was out of my control. When I got up to tell them that there were no bikes they booed me. It was the only time I’d ever been booed by Town fans and I hope it’s the last!”
On the past decade of rides more generally Boothy said: “What we have created is just fantastic and we are helping improve people’s lives.
“Unfortunately we have seen an incident at the stadium recently with the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and that just brings it home. That’s why their service is so important.
“Over the last 10 years we have paid for every Yorkshire Air Ambulance call-out in the HD postcode and it’s a wonderful achievement and something we’re very proud of.”
Turning to this year’s ride, Boothy said: “Dean is now back in charge and one of the first things he wanted to bring back was P4P. Due to the Covid restrictions at the time of planning we didn’t know how much we’d be able to organise and do. So we are just doing a small ride this year and calling it 10.5. Hopefully next year we’ll do P4P11 properly.
“This year’s ride is going to be through the beautiful surroundings of Harrogate and back again so it will be challenging but good fun.”
Here are some other images across the 10 years.
This year’s ride, sponsored by Made by Cooper, will raise money for Yorkshire Air Ambulance, Town Foundation, The Kirkwood and Platform 1.
The entry fee for the event is £85 to cover costs, including the one night overnight stay in a hotel in shared twin accommodation in Harrogate, the P4P10.5 cycling jersey, drinks and snacks on both days of the ride, the completion t-shirt, the support team and medical team cover.
To sign up, please do the following:
1. Fill out the following survey link – https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TW979LF
2. Make the £85 entry fee payment (non-refundable) via Bank Transfer to the Huddersfield Town Foundation account:
Account Number: 46992760
Sort code: 30 94 43
Account Name: Huddersfield Town Foundation Limited
Please put your first initial, last name and P4P as the reference i.e. A BOOTH P4P
3. Email email@example.com notifying him you have completed the above two steps. Good luck!