THE Fred Whitton Challenge held a special dinner at the Grange Hotel to celebrate the event's achievement in raising £1 million for local charities.

The main guest for the evening was Ian Stannard, Tour De France rider with Team Sky, who presented a cheque for £125,000 to Sue MacDonald of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Also presented on the night were £20,000 each to The Great North Air Ambulance, The North West Air Ambulance and The Duddon and Furness Mountain Rescue.

The event has now been running for 16 years and has become the most popular Cyclo Sportive in the country.

Entrants now have to go into a lottery to decide places.

Along with the main charities the event helps local youth cycling projects ranging from BMX, Girls and Boys Youth racing, youth handicapped riders and school cycling workshops.

Paul Loftus, the organiser along with the Lakes Road Club and Friends for the last 16 years, said the 112 mile ride had become an established major Cumbrian event.

He said: "It has surpassed all our wildest dreams that with starting off with 66 riders in 1999 we now have to limit the ride to 2,500."

Paul is now handing over the organisation to Stuart Emms.

The 2016 race is on May 8. Sign up here: