Nationwide 850-mile charity cycle sets off from Newcastle Falcons - with hopes of raising £15k

Rugby fan duo set off on 12-day, 850-mile bike ride to raise £15,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, which will visit every Gallagher Premiership ground along the way.

<p>Newcastle Falcons players cheer off Matt and Mark as they depart Kingston Park Stadium.</p>

Newcastle Falcons players cheer off Matt and Mark as they depart Kingston Park Stadium.

Newcastle Falcons rugby stars were out in force to cheer off a pair of friends cycling to every club in the Gallagher Premiership, raising funds for valuable research into motor neurone disease.

The ‘Tour de Prem’ sees Matt Price and Mark Ward covering a total of 850 miles in 12 days, with proceeds going to the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Having started at Newcastle Falcons’ Kingston Park Stadium, the pair will pedal their way to every other ground in the league, a route which includes Manchester, Leicester, London, Bristol and Exeter.

Newcastle Falcons head coach Dave Walder presents Matt and Mark with a signed shirt to be auctioned for the charity.

Matt and Mark were motivated to take on the challenge by the death of their friend and former rugby club chairman Simon Adams, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2009 and sadly died in 2011.

Marking ten years since Simon’s passing, the pair hope to raise £15,000 by taking donations from the public as well as auctioning off a signed shirt from each club they will visit along the way.

Those funds will add to a pot which already sits at £565,000 – Simon having set a goal of raising £1,000,000 to fund research into the currently-incurable condition only two weeks after his diagnosis.

Matt said: “This year we’ll be marking the ten-year anniversary of Simon’s passing, so it seems like the right time to do this fundraiser. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to visit Newcastle Falcons and all the other Premiership Rugby clubs along the way.”

Mark added: “It’s Matt’s fault I got roped into this. I hate cycling, but I’m doing it for Simon!”

Visit www.tourdeprem.com for more information or to make a donation.