Football commentator supports Xercise4Less 'On Yer Bike' initiative

Jacqui Oatley and Xercise4Less have thrown their support by the 'On Yer Bike' initiative for Brain Tumour Research,
Jacqui Oatley and Xercise4Less have thrown their support by the 'On Yer Bike' initiative for Brain Tumour Research,

BBC Match of the Day commentator, Jacqui Oatley, has thrown her support behind Brain Tumour Research's 'On Yer Bike' initiative, asking people in Burnley to take part in a spinathon challenge for the charity.

A familiar face to TV sports fans, Oatley was made an MBE this year for her services to broadcasting and diversity in sport, and is urging people to get fit and give hope to the thousands of families whose lives are devastated by a brain tumour diagnosis each year.

In an effort to fund ground-breaking research, Brain Tumour Research has teamed up with Xercise4Less Burnley for the 'On Yer Bike' campaign, which will see teams pedalling non-stop on static bikes and which takes place on Saturday, February 25th.

The charity funds four Centres of Excellence - at the universities of Portsmouth and Plymouth and at Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College London - where a single day of brain tumour research costs £2,740.

Jacqui, the first female presenter of BBC’s Match of the Day and a life-long Wolves fan, said: “Brain Tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

"Brain tumours are indiscriminate and can affect anyone at any time," Jacqui continued. "I am challenging people to step up and get pedalling, this is a fun event with a serious message and everyone taking part will be helping to make a difference.”

She added: “It’s a great opportunity to think about getting fit and what better motivation could there be than supporting such a deserving cause.”

A former University of Leeds student whose broadcasting career began at BBC Radio Leeds, Jacqui knows the devastation caused by a brain tumour diagnosis. Her mother Sonja Oatley MBE is a Councillor on South Staffordshire Council which, in 2012, saw the loss of deputy leader David Billson to a brain tumour. The council subsequently named Brain Tumour Research as its charity of the year.

Tim Weir, manager of Xercise4Less in Burnley, said: “This is a great opportunity to support such a worthy cause and we are encouraging as many people as possible to get involved. There will be a great atmosphere on the day which will help any tiring leg muscles.”

The 'On Yer Bike' initiative began as a local event and was inspired by Paul Halfpenny, 36, from Hadfield, Derbyshire, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour six years ago and passed away in 2014. Paul and his wife Jen, 28, had been together for just a few months when he began to experience headaches and visual problems.

Together with their friends, the couple launched 'On Yer Bike' for Brain Tumours and the campaign has so far raised £50,000.

To sign up now and ensure your team has a spot on the day, participants can contact Carol Robertson on carol@braintumourresearch.org.