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NGK Charity fundraiser presents cheque

Charity fundraiser Stuart Bayne has handed over cheques for more than £30,000 to the Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) after completing a marathon cycle ride through New Zealand.

Stuart, who is Sales Manager – North for NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, cycled 2108km (1309 miles), climbing more than 14,000 metres, during his epic journey from Bluff at the southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island to Cape Reinga, the northern-most part of the country, to raise funds for the DSA in the UK and New Zealand.

His fundraising efforts resulted in £23,661.74 being presented to former professional footballer and DSA patron Kevin Kilbane for the charity in the UK and a further $11,627.42 NZ (£6689.70) for the DSA in New Zealand.

Kevin, who played football for a number of leading English clubs including West Bromwich Albion, Sunderland, Aston Villa and Everton and who is the Republic of Ireland’s third highest capped international, has been a supporter of the DSA since the birth of his eldest daughter Elsie.

He has raised thousands of pounds for the charity, raising money by running both the London and New York Marathons.

Kevin, who has a degree in Media Studies, is now best known for his role as a co-commentator and presenter on both BBC TV’s Match of the Day 2 and Five Live radio channel, as well as being involved in the football media in Southern Ireland.

Stuart, a 53-year-old father-of-three who lives in Haverhill, Suffolk, said: “Kevin, like myself, became involved with the DSA on the birth of his daughter and, as I do, shares a positivity towards the condition to living life to the fullest through education and understanding on the part of society rather than the person with Down’s.

“I would like to thank Kevin for taking the time to meet up with me and accept our donation and I would also like to thank everyone else who contributed, including the major sponsors NGK UK and NGK Europe and Australia and many of the company’s customers in all industry sectors, from automotive to horticultural.

“I have been overwhelmed by the level of support I have received from everyone and would also like to personally thank Key Skills Recruitment (Wellington/Tauranga) in New Zealand and Cobra Garden Machinery in the UK for their support.”

Stuart’s intrepid New Zealand adventure was the second time he has raised money for the DSA. In 2015, he completed an 1100-kilometre (683-mile) sponsored cycle ride through Europe to raise more than £17,000 for the charity.