Entertainment

Sunday 19 August 2018

Zoe Ball completes Blackpool to Brighton charity cycle

The presenter raised more than £500,000 for Sport Relief in the process.

Zoe Ball triumphant in Brighton (Sport Relief/PA)
Zoe Ball triumphant in Brighton (Sport Relief/PA)

By Sam Blewett, Press Association

Zoe Ball has completed her cycle from Blackpool to Brighton, raising more than £500,000 for Sport Relief.

The presenter celebrated near Brighton Pier after cycling more than 350 miles over five days in the fundraiser inspired by the loss of her boyfriend, Billy Yates, to suicide.

Ball, 47, was cheered on by fans as she crossed the finish line on Friday, completing the at times “brutal” journey from her birth-town to her hometown.

“I’m so overwhelmed, thank you for staying in this weather – it’s biblical. I’m so happy to be here, I can’t really believe it. It’s all quite surreal. We did it,” she told the crowd.

Ball battled her way through the elements during 35 hours in the saddle in a journey that will be broadcast in an upcoming BBC documentary, Zoe’s Hardest Road Home.

Comic Relief chief executive Liz Warner praised Ball for raising the life-changing funds and the “priceless” awareness she has raised.

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Ball during the first leg of the challenge

“Zoe has been absolutely amazing. It has been a physical and emotional challenge and she has pushed herself to the limit to help others,” Ms Warner said.

Cameraman Mr Yates was found dead at his home in May at the age of 40.

Ball said she was aiming to help those living with mental illness.

Statistics from charity Samaritans show more than 6,600 people took their own lives in 2015.

Press Association

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