Ex-Worcester star Jonny Arr shocked by opening day of charity bike ride

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The Peloton of core riders including Jack Clifford (2R) arrive at Twickenham Stadium as they come to the finish of to the Road to Twickenham Cycle Ride in association with Gallagher in the build-up to the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final 2022.   A core team of ex-professional rugby players equipped with the Gallagher Premiership Rugby trophy will cycle from Newcastle to Twickenham, stopping off at several Premiership Rugby grounds along the way and covering over 750 miles on route. At each stop, our core riders will meet with day riders who will cycle part of the route alongside the core team. Day 7, 17th June 2022. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK
The Peloton of core riders including Jack Clifford (2R) arrive at Twickenham Stadium as they come to the finish of to the Road to Twickenham Cycle Ride in association with Gallagher in the build-up to the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final 2022.

By Tum Balogun

Former Worcester Warriors rugby player Jonny Arr admitted his astonishment after a difficult first day of his gruelling 750-mile charity bike ride.

The 33-year-old was one of several core riders and former rugby professional and internationals who took part in a seven-day trek across the UK, which raised money for children’s charity, Wooden Spoon.

Gallagher’s Road to Twickenham bike ride builds upon the Wooden Spoon’s core values of Passion, Integrity, Teamwork and Fun, while aiming to raise as much money as possible in just seven days.

Wooden Spoon is the children’s charity of rugby, funding life-changing projects across the UK & Ireland that support vulnerable children and young people.

Their aim is that every penny that their volunteers raise is spent on life-changing projects in their local communities.

In the last year, despite the difficult conditions, they funded 43 charitable projects supporting 100,000 vulnerable children and young people. However, more vulnerable children need their help, now more than ever.

And Arr recalled how, upon leaving Newcastle on day one, the enormity of their task began to sink in.

“I want to say all of it,” he said when asked about the most challenging part of the ride.

“But I think day one was particularly tough.

“We departed from Newcastle, and I think everyone was in high spirits, but the weather was challenging, winds, and a lot of climbing.

“I think the boys were in a state of shock after day one and all wondering what they let themselves in for.”

Arr, who made over 200 appearances in his 12 years with the Warriors, was joined on the inaugural event by friends and foes of old.

Led by former Scottish international Nathan Hines, their group included the likes of Tom Arscott, Will Hurrell, and Charlie Sharples.

The ranks were also bolstered by Paralympic cyclist Louis Rolfe, and former England and Harlequins winger Ugo Monye, who joined the team on the last leg from Newbury.

It's company Arr has missed since his retirement from top-flight rugby in 2019 and the former scrumhalf expressed his delight in being able to share such an ordeal with a group of teammates again.

He said: “It’s been good. Since leaving [rugby] you miss everything about the whole team environment, the camaraderie, and the banter.

“Even though I’ve played against some of these guys, and don’t really know them too well, we bonded straight away, and I think it’s made it a lot easier to get through.”

The Road to Twickenham, supported by Gallagher, took the riders from Newcastle to Twickenham, stopping at several Premiership Rugby grounds along the way.

The ride was organised to raise crucial funds for children’s charity, Wooden Spoon. With the help of the rugby family, the organisation funds life-changing projects across the UK & Ireland that support vulnerable children and young people.

Arr, who has seen the work of the charity up close and personal, credited their impressive links to rugby and praised their outstanding contribution.

“First and foremost, for us as former players their links to rugby are amazing,” he added.

“Just the work that goes into all the projects that make a huge difference to all these young children.

“In Worcestershire, where I’m from, there’s a lot that goes on and I’ve seen first-hand the impact that some of these projects have had so it’s amazing.

“[In] local schools, there’s been a lot of money spent in areas for kids where they can really kind of make their own.

“It’s just great to see children that might not have opportunities to flourish, off the back of projects get that.”

Wooden Spoon is the children’s charity of rugby.  With the help of you, the rugby family, we fund life-changing projects across the UK & Ireland that support vulnerable children and young people. Text WOODENSPOON 10 to 70085 to donate £10 or visit JustGiving: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/gallaghersbikeride and woodenspoon.org.uk to find out more.

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