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Newark PS Steve Brownley of Newark Police is one of 14 Nottinghamshire police and fire personnel who took part.

By Rachel Armitage

Emergency services personnel have completed a tough cycling challenge.

Sergeant Steve Brownley, of Newark Police, along with a team of 13 Nottinghamshire Police and Fire and Rescue colleagues, took part in the ‘Tour de Friends’, a 170 mile coast-to-coast cycling challenge across the north of England in two days, raising money for Cancer Research UK.

All of the team have been touched by cancer in some way, and Steve’s wife Louise is his inspiration as she has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Louise was first diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago, and after months of chemotherapy, was given the all clear.

But just six months later, she started to feel unwell and was told the cancer had returned and had spread to her bones. She was given a prognosis of five to ten years.

Steve said: “It is very difficult, when you plan for dying you imagine you’ll have reached an old age and will have done everything you want to do, but that’s not going to be the case.

“Lou gets very tired and is on a lot of oral chemotherapy drugs, but she’s very brave and has such a high pain threshold.”

It was only when Steve began researching the costs involved in research and treatment for cancer that he realised how expensive it was to the NHS: “Just one pack of Lou’s oral chemotherapy drugs costs the NHS £3,000 for a month’s supply, and it’s only been available for 18 months, so the amount of research that must have gone into it must have cost a fortune,” he said.

The challenge began on Monday at 8am on the west cost of Cumbria in Whitehaven, and the team cycled the 70 miles across hilly Cumbria to Alston and stayed overnight, before setting off again at 8am on Tuesday and finished in Sunderland in Tyne and Wear, on the east coast.

Louise was also originally going to join in the challenge, but her health did not allow it, so she was part of the support team accompanying the cyclists on the ride.

Steve said: "It was as difficult as we thought it would be, we had to change the route slightly to avoid the A66 and there were a lot more hills on this route.

"But 14 of us started the challenge and 14 of us finished, which is the important thing.

"It was quite emotional when we crossed the finish line. We'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us."

The team is hoping to raise around £10,000 for Cancer Research UK. To make a donation, visit their JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/teams/TourdeFriendsNotts

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