Former Wales star helps raise more than £140,000 for cancer centre

A former Wales star has helped to raise more than £140,000 for Wales' biggest centre for cancer patients by cycling 1,000 miles throughout May.

Ex-Scarlets back Morgan Stoddart assembled a 120-strong team to fundraise for Velindre Cancer Centre, Cardiff, where he received treatment for testicular cancer in 2015.

Thousands of people across Wales have been fundraising for charities struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

UFC fighter Brett Johns, West End performer Sophie Evans and former Cardiff Blues and Scarlets player Harry Robinson were among the Welsh stars to cycle the full 1,000 miles.

Morgan Stoddart was forced to retire in 2013 due to an injury. Credit: PA Images

Rhondda-born Morgan Stoddart was forced to retire from his professional rugby career in 2013 after failing to recover from an injury.

He broke his left leg while winning his eighth cap for Wales in a World Cup warm-up match against England in August 2011.

in 2015, Stoddart beat testicular cancer after being treated at Velindre Cancer Centre.

He said: "Velindre helped myself personally, and I have had family and friends sadly pass away due to cancer, and Velindre were amazing helping them.

"Lots of us will be in the same boat losing loved ones."

Tonypandy-born musical star Sophie Evans said the challenge had been "hard" and thanked those who donated for their contributions.

The fundraiser has also received messages of support from sports stars including George North, Josh Navidi and Mike Phillips.

Stoddart set up the fundraiser with his close friend Paul, who also cycled the 1,000 miles.

Paul Hornblow, a close friend of Stoddart, helped set up the challenge after a planned fundraising trip to the United States was postponed.

He said: "Myself and Morgan took part in the San Francisco to LA bike ride two years ago, which raised over half a million pounds.

"We would have been taking part in a three canyons bike ride into Las Vegas, which has now been postponed until 2021 due to Covid-19.

A group of 120 people cycled 1,000 miles, with some finishing the ride outside Velindre Cancer Care.

Hornblow added: "The idea came up as so many people were home due to the virus. The response of over 120 riders was a shock to us all and amazing.

"So many people got involved, giving up a lot of time, with some of them still working during the crisis."

Donations can be made to the fundraiser here.

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