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100 mile cycle raises thousands for charity

Scientists, vets and supporters competed in the RideLondon 100 cycle challenge to help raise £75,000 towards a new MRI machine for the Animal Health Trust.

The AHT was represented on Sunday by 14 riders - including six senior staff members - who took on the 2012 Olympic cycling route in the Prudential RideLondon 100 challenge, all to raise vital funds towards new life-saving equipment in the charity's 75th anniversary year.

The AHT needs to raise £400,000 this year for a new MRI machine, a vital piece of diagnostic equipment for its veterinary clinics. MRI is used mostly in neurological cases, such as investigating brain and spinal problems, and can help vets reach a quick and accurate diagnosis. The team hopes to raise £75,000 from last weekend's event alone and they are currently 75% of the way there.

A dog is prepared for an MRI scan at the AHT by Dr Ruth Dennis

Members of the team included CEO, Dr Mark Vaudin, Head of Individual Giving, Andrew Simmonds and Head of Canine Genetics, Dr Cathryn Mellersh, who completed the race in 7 hours 1 minute, 5 hours 59 minutes and 8 hours 6 minutes, respectively.

AHT Ride London team at finish line left - to right - Andrea Wilkinson, Dr Richard Newton, Maire O'Brien, Andrew Simmonds and Dr Mark Vaudin

Dr Mark Vaudin, CEO of the Animal Health Trust, said, "There was an amazing atmosphere and I‘m so proud that every one of our riders made it safely and speedily to the finish line. It was the biggest team we’ve ever entered into the RideLondon 100 event and our biggest ever staff fundraising challenge to-date.

"It was a long 7 hours in the saddle for me but I was cheered to meet a fellow rider along the way who had a dog treated at the AHT and was impressed by the challenge we have set ourselves. He went on to sponsor me when he got home, which was incredibly thoughtful of him and means a lot.

"Every penny we can raise from doing this challenge will help us get closer to upgrading our MRI machine; which delivers over 1,000 MRI scans a year helping to save the lives of very sick and injured animals. Any knowledge we gain from treating animals in our clinics we share with vets and scientists world-wide, so it’s really important that we’re able to stay at the forefront of the veterinary profession and that’s why we’re fundraising for this new equipment.

"I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported us so far and anyone who can help us reach our target, as well as an additional thank you to the official AHT RideLondon kit sponsors: Agria Pet Insurance, South Essex Insurance Brokers (SEIB), Taylor Vinters, Taylor Keeble, FRS Roofing and RSM whose generous donations funded the team’s eye-catching kit."

To support the team, go here and to sign up to next year's team, contact events@aht.org.uk.