Naked bike ride? I don’t see what the problem is...

SUPPORT Sharon Pannell, 36, with daughter Alicia

SUPPORT Sharon Pannell, 36, with daughter Alicia

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A MUM whose daughter will benefit from a naked cycle ride through Portsmouth defended the event after 1,000 people protested against it.

But the Portsmouth Family Church is campaigning against the ride and has presented a 1,000-name petition into Portsmouth City Council asking for it to be called off.

The ride has so far raised hundreds of pounds for Sharon Pannell’s daughter, Alicia, who has cerebral palsy and needs costly adaptations made to her Gosport home.

Mrs Pannell, 36, said: ‘People are entitled to their own opinions of what they want to see in the street but I support it.

‘Every year men and women do sponsored walks for breast cancer wearing just bras and there are no complaints about that.

‘The majority of people I’ve spoken to about it think it’s hilarious.’

The organiser of the bike ride, Ian Henden, has so far raised £230 which will go towards a safe outdoor storage for Alicia’s wheelchair.

But Sarah Carter, from the Portsmouth Family Church, said there are other ways to raise money for charity without stripping off.

She added: ‘‘It’s the full frontal nudity in the public’s faces that you would normally be arrested for which is the issue with the naked bike ride.’

But Mr Henden, from Gudge Heath Lane, Fareham, remains defiant.

He said: ‘There is a family church in many of the other cities where the bike ride has been held with no complaints. So why here? The police and the council have been very supportive. All we need now is lots of people to turn up and join in.

‘You do not have to be totally naked but if the weather is nice you might want to be. But we’ll do it even if it rains.’

The bike ride begins at the Rock Gardens, Southsea sea front at midday and will go through Southsea, lasting around 45 minutes.

To donate to Alicia go to alicia-pannell.org.uk.

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