The Greater Haywards Heath Bike Ride 2024 in photos: celebrity guests Adam Deacon and Karen Pickering MBE help open huge community event

Hundreds of cyclists got up bright and early at the weekend for The Greater Haywards Heath Bike Ride 2024.

The huge community challenge started at 8.30am on Sunday, May 19, with riders arriving at The Broadway from about 7.30am.

Two celebrity guests helped Mid Sussex MP Mims Davies cut the ribbon, alongside Haywards Heath mayor Stephanie Inglesfield, chairman of the Bike Ride Team Mike Oliver (Mike Oliver Associates) and John Stebbings of Thakeham.

These were World Champion swimmer Karen Pickering MBE and BAFTA award-winning actor, writer and director Adam Deacon (Kidulthood, Adulthood) who is an ambassador for Bipolar UK (

Adam told the cyclists: “Thank you for having me and thank you so much for such a big turn out.”

Karen said to them: “Thanks to all of you for raising so much money for local charities, which is so important. Every penny makes a difference.”

The Haywards Heath Town Team worked with Cuckfield, Lindfield and Haywards Heath Rotary Club to organise the event, and the club chose Bipolar UK and Sussex Search and Rescue as their charities.

Mims Davies told the Middy: “It’s fantastic to be back at The Greater Haywards Heath Bike Ride again raising really important money for Sussex Search and Rescue for Bipolar and, of course, being supported by amazing local volunteers from our brilliant rotary team and the Mid Sussex Radio.”

She said: “It’s a beautiful area to ride in and I’m really proud to be part of it. Thanks to Ruth (de Mierre) and the team for making it happen another year.”

Karen Pickering said: “It’s fabulous. It's great to see so many people up on a Sunday morning and it's a good day for it. It’s dry with some good sunshine.” She added: “It’s great to see so many kids getting involved.”

Stephanie Inglesfield said: “It’s another great event in Haywards Heath. The weather is absolutely perfect for a bike ride. It’s been organised by the rotary club, the sponsors are amazing, like Mike Oliver, and everybody’s having a wonderful time.”

Thakeham director John Stebbings called the bike ride ‘a fantastic opportunity’ for people to get active, saying he was thrilled for Thakeham to be involved. He said: “With everything we’ve been through the past few years as a community I think it’s great to see people out there getting active and enjoying it.”

He said: “Thakeham is proud to sponsor the Greater Haywards Heath Bike Ride for the second consecutive year. It is a great community day for riders and spectators alike.” He added: “Vital funds were raised for local causes, including local BiPolar and Search & Rescue charities and I, for one, am inspired to ride one of the routes next year. Well done to everyone involved in this very successful event!”

There were four routes for riders to choose from, which included a family-friendly 12-mile ride and a 74-mile challenge. The day was not just about cycling either. There were activities for children, like Matt Fiddes Martial Arts and a Walkhouse Dance display, as well as a Paws on Track dog show, and live musical entertainers.

After the event Mike Oliver said: "Thanks to everyone who turned out to ride, volunteer or join in and support our activities on The Broadway. We all had an incredible day and we look forward to seeing you all again in 2025.”

The Rotary Club of Cuckfield, Lindfield and Haywards Heath said they were proud to be partners with the event once more. Judith Pratt, President of RCCLHH, said: “Our Rotary Team recently walked and cycled over 10,000km for their ‘Pole to Pole’ challenge and raised over £6,000 for Bipolar UK to establish a much-needed online local support group.”

Haywards Heath Town Team chairman Ruth de Mierre thanked everyone for their hard work and dedication including the Bike Ride Team headed up by Mike Oliver, the Rotary Club, members of Sussex Search & Rescue, the Co-Op and Waitrose, Elizabeth Wickenden from the Family Grapevine who organised children’s activities and the live entertainers headed up by Cylvian Flynn.

She said: "Perhaps the most important to thank is HHTC’s Clerk, Steve Trice, and his team who, not only are amazing, but so critical to the success of the day. And, without the help of our marshall and feed station volunteers, the day wouldn’t happen and there were so many plaudits from all our riders for their help and cheerfulness.

"As always, our huge thanks go to Amphibian Scaffolding who, once again, arrived at an unearthly hour to build the most incredible Start/Finish gantry in next to no time and then came back and took it down – you’re just the best! And, without the generosity of our lovely sponsors – Thakeham, The Orchards, Mike Oliver Associates and Mansell McTaggart, we couldn’t ensure that every penny of the riders’ entry went to our local charities – we are so truly grateful."

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