CYCLISTS are putting their pedal power to the test for a poignant 120-mile challenge in memory of a much-loved friend and hockey club mate.

Ten members of the third team at Knutsford Hockey Club are taking on the challenge from Knutsford to north Wales to mark the first anniversary of the death of father-of-two Mat Hodge.

Mat died suddenly last September from a cardiac arrest aged just 43, leaving his wife Georgina and sons Jamon and Jonty.

Georgina was looking to raise money for a good cause in his memory, and joined forces with Bexton Primary School, Knutsford Hockey Club, where Mat was a member, and Knutsford Community First Responder Trust, for a heart screening day.

Jonty is a pupil at Bexton Primary, and Jamon is moving up from the school to Knutsford Academy next month.

The huge outpouring of support for Georgina and her sons saw more than £11,700 being raised for the 2020 screening session for hockey club members.

The hockey players planned to support the screening day, but because of the amazing sum raised the proceeds of the 120-mile event will now go to the First Responder Trust to support its work in the community.

The cycling challenge on Saturday, September 7, starts at Knutsford Leisure Centre, where the hockey players train and play, and ends at Trearddur Bay in Anglesey, a favourite holiday spot for Mat and Georgina and their sons.

The players taking on the fundraiser started a cycling group to get fit, will be setting off at 6am and hope to reach the finish by about 6pm.

Knutsford Guardian:

Georgina and Mat Hodge with their children

“We agreed some time ago that we wanted to mark Mat’s passing a year ago by attempting some sort of sporting challenge,” said James Routs, captain of the men’s third team.

“We wanted it to be something that would make him smile, something he could raise a glass to, something he'd be first to join in with, with that mischievous glint in his eye you knew would prompt fun and games.

“So we decided to cycle the 120 miles from Knutsford to Trearddur Bay, two places which made Mat very happy.

“It will be a poignant, emotional day for everyone, as Mat's loss has had a huge impact on everyone at the club, and Trearddur Bay was a place he was very fond of.

“We have a detailed route planned, with short stops every two to three hours to have a break and get some food on board, and it will be new territory for all of us, as none of us has cycled this far in a day before.”

Knutsford Guardian:

Mat and Georgina Hodge

The cyclists have raised £435 towards their £1,000 target, and to support them visit

Georgina said: “The continuing support in memory of my husband, Mat, is astonishing.

“Mat played hockey at Knutsford for over 10 years, and for a group of players to cycle 120 miles to raise money in his memory is a wonderful testament.

“My sons Jamon and Jonty and myself wish them all the very best of luck for their mammoth ride, and are very touched by their plans to cycle to a place that was very special to Mat and to the family.

“The Trearddur Bay theme continues on September 28 when a number of adults and children from Knutsford Cycling Club, Bexton Primary School, friends and family from as far as Windsor and Birmingham gather together to mark the year anniversary of Mat’s death.

“We will be doing a cycle ride around the area followed by fun and games on the beach.”