Rugby Bikeathon is last for long-serving Janet Haynes

Janet Haynes has raised more than a million pounds for charity
Janet Haynes has raised more than a million pounds for charity
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The driving force behind Rugby Bikeathon is climbing out the saddle after 20 years of organising the annual event.

Janet Haynes MBE, 76, said she hopes someone else will take over and keep the fundraiser running.

Rugby Bikeathon brings in thousands of pounds for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research every year.

“I am sad to be stepping down,” she said.

“It’s been a lot of work over the years but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

Janet, who lives in Princethorpe, said numbers have dwindled over the years.

“I remember there being 1,000 cyclists taking part,” she said.

Janet started fundraising for people with leukaemia after her daughter’s 12-year-old friend was diagnosed in 1978.

She has dedicated her life to the cause and has collected £1.5m.

The highlights of her fundraising career include meeting stars like Sir Ian Botham, Gary Lineker and Leslie Grantham.

Watching young people she has supported and grown fond of lose their battles with the disease have been the low points.

In the early days, Janet said only 10 per cent of the people who were diagnosed with leukaemia were cured.

In 1979 Janet helped form the Rugby branch of the Leukaemia Research Fund.

“Sadly, throughout the 80s we lost many more young people. I fondly remember them all,” said Janet.

This year’s event takes place on Sunday and entrants can set off from Newbold Riverside Primary or the Royal Oak in Brandon with ten, 26 and 50 mile rides on offer.

Rugby Bikeathon takes place on Sunday, registration from 9am, start time 10am.

“A big thank you to everyone who has helped me over the years,” Janet added.

Janet has won many awards, including Unsung Hero and Rugbeian of the Year in 1986 after launching an appeal for Walsgrave Hospital and raising £56,000.

Telephone Janet on 01926 632258 to take part in the Bikeathon.