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Byfleet comes together to support Prudential RideLondon

A vicar has spoken of his pride in his community who came out in force to support Prudential RideLondon on Sunday.

From early in the morning when the first riders in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 sportive pedalled past to the passing of the professional peloton in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic, the residents of Byfleet turned out in force.

Reverend Dr John McCabe postponed his weekly service at St Mary’s Church so the congregation could go out by the road-side and hand out water to the riders and he said it filled him with joy to see the community come together in such a way.

“I was really proud to be connected with Byfleet on Sunday,” said Rev McCabe. “I was proud of the welcome the people of Byfleet gave to the riders. The whole event was brilliant and people came out in big numbers.”

The Byfleet community has been a big supporter of Prudential RideLondon from the outset and the villagers’ enthusiasm for the event shows no sign of abating.

“We have done something every year,” said Rev McCabe. “For the past three years we have had a party on the green and one of the school teachers organised a flash mob.

“I have been away this year and not had time to organise it so I thought this year it would be a good idea for the whole congregation to give out bottles at points throughout the village.

“It was fantastic. We handed out 300 bottles and everyone had a great time.”

Rev McCabe said there were two moments that encapsulated the mood within the community at this year’s Prudential RideLondon.

The first was watching a family from Brazil, newly moved to the village from their homeland, start interacting with their new neighbours.

“The family have only been here for three weeks,” said Dr McCabe. “The father has been here a bit longer but his wife and two children moved over three weeks ago. They don’t know much English but they were getting stuck in and loving it. They told me they had a fantastic time and it was just fantastic to see.”

The second moment that Rev McCabe pointed to was the actions of Byfleet resident Shaun Meyer who sprung to the aid of one rider who had punctured twice already and was out of spares by the time she reached the village.

“She had really bad luck,” said Dr McCabe. “Byfleet is only one-third of the way around the 100 but she had already experienced two punctures. Fortunately for her she had brought two spares with her but she had used them already by the time she had got to us.

“She was in floods of tears when she reached us but it just so happened that Shaun had the same model of bike as her. He ran back to his house, came out with a wheel and we sent her on her way. How great a welcome to Byfleet is that?”