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Olympic hero inspires charity biker

Emma Matthews and Susan Byrne with Dame Kelly Holmes
Emma Matthews and Susan Byrne with Dame Kelly Holmes

A college worker got some Olympic inspiration at a charity bike ride after meeting gold medal hero Dame Kelly Holmes at the finishing line.

Susan Byrne, who works in the finance department at the Horsted site of Mid Kent College, met the athlete at the end of last month’s Prince’s Trust Palace to Palace Cycle.

Dame Kelly Holmes, an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, crossed the finish line after two hours and 35 minutes. Ms Byrne, who took part in the challenge alongside Emma Mathews, a friend from university, managed to complete the 45 mile trek from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle in an impressive three hours and ten minutes.

Ms Byrne said: “Dame Kelly was milling around at the end of the ride, so we got talking. It was great to meet her, and like us, she seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed the event.

“When we first started the ride it was pouring with rain. By the time we reached Richmond Park, about 10 miles in, we were absolutely drenched. Even though we were soaked and our shoes were squelching, we had a great time and everyone was in great spirits.

“It was quite tough at points and some of the hills were a challenge, but I remembered my three months of training and refused to give up; I just kept going.”

Nearly 3,000 people took part in the charity event. The Palace to Palace Cycle takes place annually and has raised more than £200,000 for the Prince’s Trust over the last two years.

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