Husband recalls Jane Tomlinson's 'indomitable spirit' after Ride to Rio


The husband of inspirational fundraiser Jane Tomlinson has remembered her "indomitable spirit" as he arrived in Rio de Janeiro after completing an epic 3,000-mile bike riding challenge in tribute to his late wife.

Mike Tomlinson arrived at the Christ the Redeemer Statue on Thursday along with the rest of his Ride to Rio team, including TV presenter Charlie Webster and ex-rugby league stars Keith Senior and Paul Highton.

The end of the 39-day adventure came 10 years to the day after Jane began one of the most remarkable and the last of all her charity challenges, when she embarked on a 4,200-mile cycle ride across the US.

Ride to Rio team
(Jane Tomlinson Appeal/PA)

Jane captured the attention of the world with a series of challenges, including countless bike rides, marathons and triathlons, after she was told she had incurable breast cancer in August 2000.

By the time she died in 2007, Jane had raised almost £2 million for charity - a fundraising effort which has been continued by her family through the Jane Tomlinson Appeal.

She was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award in 2002.

Jane Tomlinson at the 10k Run for All in 2007
(Owen Humphreys/PA)

Her emotional husband said in Brazil: "On August 31 2006, Jane stood on Staten Island looking across at Manhattan, knowing the next day she would cycle over the Brooklyn Bridge and complete her ride across America.

"We looked at each other and we knew her athletic exploits were over. She would head home knowing her days were limited.

"On the ride she gave everything despite aggressive liver cancer and extensive bone disease.

"She felt huge relief that her cycling journey was complete but an overwhelming sadness that her life was drawing to a close."

Mike, who set out from London on June 27, said: "Today was my equivalent of that Staten Island moment.

"As I cycled up to the top of Christ the Redeemer, I thought of Jane and her incredible achievement with every pedal stroke.

"No-one, except for a handful of people, knew what she went through and how hard she had to dig in.

"Our challenge, while it paled in comparison to the ride across America, was tough, both emotionally and physically. But it has really reinforced to me just how indomitable Jane's spirit was.

"Thank you to everyone who came with us on our journey - either physically or by backing us through sponsorship of other support. We could not have done it without you."

Charlie said: "It's so hard to put into words what it means to climb to the top of Christ Redeemer after setting off 39 days ago from London.

"I feel overwhelmed, in awe of what we've achieved, relieved that I made it and all the emotion that I've had pent up for the past 39 days has just poured out. Yes, I cried.

"Knowing a small bit of what Jane was going through when she rode across America and the sheer grit she had to show is evidence that we can battle any adversity and make a difference.

"The incredible messages I've received from people back home have kept me going. Thank you to all those that have encouraged me, believed in me and donated to the Jane Tomlinson Appeal, a fantastic cause, in the name of a remarkable woman."

Anyone who wants to support the team can go to or text JRTR70 £5 to 70070 to donate £5.