Family tragedy gives charity ride real meaning

GOOD CAUSE: Peter Hughes gets ready for the Little Black Dress charity bike ride. Photo Adam Hourigan
GOOD CAUSE: Peter Hughes gets ready for the Little Black Dress charity bike ride. Photo Adam Hourigan

ROAD bike? Check. Helmet? Check. Tutu? Check.

The sight of Grafton police officer Peter Hughes cycling through the Clarence Valley in a little black tutu may raise some eyebrows but at least he won't be doing it alone.

The skirt has become an iconic uniform for those participating in the Little Black Dress Classic charity ride, in support of The Jodi Lee Foundation and its bowel cancer prevention initiatives.

Mr Hughes will be among a team of cyclists who will ride more than 950kms across New South Wales and Queensland to raise money and awareness of bowel cancer.

The classic will be the first proper charity ride Peter has participated in but the avid cyclist is eager to do his bit.

Mr Hughes has been cycling since 2005, taking to the road whenever he can.

"If I could I'd ride every day," he said.

"I have been secretly seeking to participate in a charity event for some time, looking over many an event but things for one reason or another haven't worked out."

"I saw a link on Facebook to The Jodi Lee Foundation Little Black Dress Classic and was intrigued."

The Classic will be held from March 22-28 in support of bowel cancer prevention initiatives, a cause close to Mr Hughes' heart.

"Dad died of cancer a few years ago and I lost mum five years ago," he said.

"It's the fifth anniversary of her passing and the day before we leave would have been mum's 75th birthday."

His sister-in-law's mother is also battling bowel cancer.

Mr Hughes said that while up to 90% of bowel cancer cases can be successfully treated if detected early, fewer than 40% of cases are detected at an early stage.

"The biggest thing is trying to push the awareness of bowel cancer," he said.

The Classic will start in Coffs Harbour with riders heading through the Clarence Valley from Nymboida to Yamba, stopping at Ulmarra and Wooli before heading north to the NSW/QLD border.

"I'm looking at this event as a 'once in a lifetime', 'all the boxes are being ticked' event," Mr Hughes said.

To donate to Mr Hughes' campaign, visit

Topics:  charity ride jodi lee foundation

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