Sunday, July 27, 2008

Piggin' marvelous!

Two men on a tandem towing a giant blue pig are due to end their epic ride from Glasgow to London at 1200 BST today. Steve Hunt, from Chippenham in Wiltshire, and Glaswegian Gordon McKirdy set off with the pig in tow on 6 July, collecting money along the way.

The pair cycled for nine hours a day and visited about 50 towns and cities. They had to be rescued by the AA near the start of their ride when the pig - which is the size of a small car - broke free from its chassis.

The cyclists had already raised £87,000 for Cancer Research UK by running marathons and the idea for the giant piggy bank on wheels came up during a "think tank" in a pub after a race. They hope to raise a further £60,000 thanks to their, and the pig's, efforts.

Mr Hunt, 46, said: "We thought our legs and knees would suffer the most as cycling uses a completely different set of muscles. "But actually it is our backsides which have taken the battering. We are rather saddle sore."

When Mr Hunt was nine he lost his father to cancer and Mr McKirdy, 33, who now lives in Loughton, Essex, has lost close friends and relatives to the disease.

"Everyone is touched by cancer at some point so we all have a responsibility to do something to help," Mr McKirdy said. "This is our way of doing it." He added: "We had a few early mishaps, not least with the pig breaking loose from the chassis. But since then he has behaved himself. And he is built to last. We'll crumble away before he does."

The pig - which is bright blue, weighs 77lbs (35 kilos) and is 6ft (1.82m) tall - does not yet have a name and they are encouraging people to come up with ideas.

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