Zoe crosses finishing line in £500K Blackpool to Brighton cycle marathon

Picture: Steve Schofield/Sport Relief/PA Wire
Picture: Steve Schofield/Sport Relief/PA Wire
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Zoe Ball has completed a cycle from her hometown Blackpool to Brighton, raising more than £500,000 for Sport Relief.

The presenter celebrated near Brighton Pier after cycling more than 350 miles over five days in the fundraiser inspired by the loss of her boyfriend, Billy Yates, to suicide.

Ball, 47, was cheered on by fans as she crossed the finish line on Friday, completing the at times “brutal” journey from her birth-town to her hometown.

“I’m so overwhelmed, thank you for staying in this weather - it’s biblical. I’m so happy to be here, I can’t really believe it. It’s all quite surreal. We did it,” she told the crowd.

Ball battled her way through the elements during 35 hours in the saddle in a journey that will be broadcast in an upcoming BBC documentary, Zoe’s Hardest Road Home.

Comic Relief chief executive Liz Warner praised Ball for raising the life-changing funds and the “priceless” awareness she has raised.

“Zoe has been absolutely amazing. It has been a physical and emotional challenge and she has pushed herself to the limit to help others,” Ms Warner said.

Cameraman Mr Yates was found dead at his home in May at the age of 40.

Ball said she was aiming to help those living with mental illness.

Statistics from charity Samaritans show more than 6,600 people took their own lives in 2015.