Abercynon  Sports Centre's Gavin Bennett is taking full advantage of his unlimited Leisure for Life Membership and the exceptional new gym at the venue to train for an epic 600km charity bike ride.

Gavin, who manages Rhondda Cynon Taf Council's Sport RCT team, signed up for the Velindre Hospital challenge in support of his childhood friend, former Wales player Matthew J Watkins, who is under the centre's care for cancer treatment.

He, along with six friends and a host of participants from across the UK, will cycle 600km from San Francisco to Los Angeles in just six days for the challenge. Between them they hope to raise £30,000 towards the wider Velindre fundraiser.

Gavin, 38, got into the charity spirit by donning his Wear Red for Velindre Tshirt for one of his training sessions on the spin bikes at Abercynon Sports Centre.

Everyone is encouraged to wear red for Velindre on Friday, February 2,  and donate £1 towards the important cause.

Councillor Ann Crimmings, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Leisure, said: “As part of the Sport RCT Team, Gavin works across the county borough helping sports clubs and sports people to develop and to engage more people in the community to become more active.

“It is fitting then that he is taking on such a physical challenge to raise money for Velindre and I’m sure he will inspire many others to wear red and donate to such a worthwhile cause on Friday 2 February.” 

Father-of-two Gavin added: This is the first time I have ever attempted anything like this but am looking forward to getting to America in September with Matthew and the other participants.

"I became aware of Velindre's work through Matthew, who is under their care, but we all know someone who is affected by cancer and have seen the incredible work the hospital does every single day.

"The ride is going to be a trial but each kilometre will be worth it to raise much-needed funds for this amazing cause."

Wear Red for Velindre at your workplace, school or business on February 2 or donate now via Gavin's JustGiving page

 Find out more about Wear Red For Velindre

*Those not quite ready to take on a 600km cycling challenge can get on their bike and more at Abercynon  Sports Centre and all other RCTCBC leisure centres, you can join Leisure for Life online or via the new Leisure for Life APP or "pay as you go".

Find out more about the Council’s range of leisure facilities and how you can benefit by becoming a Leisure for Life member at

Posted on Thursday 1st February 2018

Help us improve - don't include personal or financial information, e.g. your National Insurance number or credit card details.