Join Jayne Torvill and Davina McCall for Big Sussex Bike Ride in Uckfield

Cross-in-Hand resident Jayne Torvill is swapping her ice skates for two wheels after signing up to join celebrity ambassador Davina McCall at her charity bike ride in aid of Action Medical Research.

The skating superstar will be helping raise funds for sick babies and children at Davina’s Big Sussex Bike Ride on June 7.

Mother-of-two Jayne signed up for the event after a friend suggested it. Despite holding two Olympic medals, she’s fairly new to the sport of cycling.

She said: “I’ll be tackling the Classic 40-mile route on the day and it looks like it’s going to be a great event. I’ve already been out on the course to see what we can expect and it takes in some fantastic Sussex countryside.”

Jayne first hopped on her bike when she tackled a duathlon at Bexhill in 2013. She went on: “I’m looking forward to a great day’s riding in aid of a great cause. As a mother, I know how important it is to protect future generations by supporting the work that Action Medical Research does.”

Jayne suffers from asthma, a condition currently being studied by Professor Somnath Mukhopadhyay, of Brighton’s Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, thanks to funding from Action Medical Research.

Professor Mukhopadhyay has uncovered evidence that a commonly used asthma medicine, called salmeterol, may offer little benefit to some of the children who are taking it. He is investigating whether children’s genetic makeup should be taken into account when deciding whether to give them this asthma medicine or an alternative – whether this improves children’s quality of life and gives better control of their asthma.

Although Jayne didn’t develop the condition until later in life, she says research like that funded by Action Medical Research is vital.

She explained: “I didn’t suffer from asthma as a child - it was something that started in my late twenties - but I can only imagine how frightening it is for young kids. Now that I’m using the right medication, over the last four or five years it has become more under control. I’ve never had to go to hospital but there have been times when I have had to see a medic after a show.

“If you have a sudden change in temperature, for example if you go into a cold place and start to work, that can bring it on - which did prove a problem on the ice. Sometimes I had a medic waiting afterwards to give me oxygen.

“But as a sportsperson, perhaps you are more body aware and you can feel when an attack is going to happen, and you know what to do.”

The race, which starts and finishes at the East Sussex National Hotel and Golf Course near Uckfield, offers three route options: the Cool 21-mile route, the more challenging Classic route, which covers 40 miles, and the Champion 68-mile route for experienced riders. There will be well stocked feed stops around the route, mechanical support, first aiders and massage therapists on hand as well as a hearty BBQ lunch at the finish. All people need to do is register and pay £25 for the Fundraising option (with a pledge to raise an additional minimum of £40 in sponsorship) or £38 for the Sportive option which is a one-off inclusive fee.

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Money raised by riders will help fund medical research into conditions affecting babies and children.

The charity is currently supporting work around meningitis, Downs syndrome, epilepsy and premature birth, as well as some rare and distressing conditions that severely affect children.

Action Medical Research is a leading UK wide charity working to save lives and change children’s lives through medical research.