The annual Tour des Silos charity cycle ride is to go ahead after all this year, but under a different format. And the Sunday May 31st 2020 event will have participants in at least four continents.

Former Openfield grain store development manager Rob Sanderson started Tour des Silos five years ago to raise funds for the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) charity after he lost his wife Kate to the disease. The initial route was between the Hampshire Grain, Wiltshire Grain and Ridgeway Grain stores (now all in Trinity Grain). Since then, over £28,000 has been raised for the MND Association.

The 2020 ride had been cancelled due to the Covid-19 lockdown measures, but Mr Sanderson says the recent easing of the restrictions means that it can now proceed, but under social distancing protocols. Rather than the usual organised event over three legs with common starting and finishing times, riders will be encouraged to plan their own local ride on Sunday May 31st wherever they live, and however long or short, but ideally with a grain store or related premises as part of the route.

Pictures can be shared on social media using the #tourdessilos and #MND hashtags and of course donations can be made here.

Mr Sanderson says he is astonished how quickly support for the initiative has grown. As well as individual journeys around the original three stores, there will be rides involving stores in Aberdeen, Northumberland, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Devon and Kent. And there will be an international element – two of his former grain trade colleagues have promised to participate in Western Australia and Saskatchewan in Canada. There are rides planned in Cyprus and in Nepal – but without the silos – and more are being notified every day.

With the Tour des Silos and other fundraising projects, Including a Calais to Perpignan cycle ride and one from Caen to Cannes which involved a detour up Mont Ventoux, Mr Sanderson has now raised almost £94,000 for the MND Association. He is hoping the monies raised on May 31st will help him pass £100,000.

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