FORMER West Bromwich Albion football player Brendon Batson joined 400 cyclists on a ride through Bromsgrove's scenic villages to raise £23,000 for a charity close to his heart.

The 75km 'Ride the Reservoir' took Brendon and fellow fundraisers from Bartley Green Reservoir through Romsley, Belbroughton, Chaddesley Corbett and Barnt Green in aid of Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice.

The ride was scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 18 but was postponed due to snowy weather.

Although Brendon couldn’t make the new date, he completed the cycle independently to show his continued support for the hospice which cared for his wife Cecily in 2009, after she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Brendon said: “The care Cecily and my family received was just incredible.

"It was a massive comfort that she was cared for at home and I’ll never forget the kindness and dignity the nurses and doctors showed us.

Bromsgrove Advertiser:

“That’s why I wanted to take on Ride the Reservoir – as it’s my way of giving back to the charity that gave so much to my family."

This year's event was the most successful yet, with a record-breaking number of riders and total raised.

All the money raised will go to Birmingham St Mary’s, which provides vital care and support to local people living with life-limiting illness.

Lucy Watkins, head of fundraising at St Mary’s, said: “This year’s Ride the Reservoir was our best yet. There was a fantastic energy before the ride and it was brilliant to see so many people get pedalling for our hospice.

“It was a tough decision to postpone the event but it’s wonderful to see people who couldn’t make the new date – like Brendon – still get on their bike and complete the ride on their own. Thank you to everyone who took part."

To find out more about the hospice, visit