Former GB para-cyclist Sally Hurst to officially start Selby Three Swans Sportive

27 August 2019

Former GB para-cyclist and BBC Look North journalist Sally Hurst will officially set off cyclists in the Selby Three Swans Sportive this Sunday, September 1. 

She will be joined by her colleague and friend BBC sports presenter Tanya Arnold to cheer on more than 1,000 participants in the popular event. The pair will then team up with Sarah Goldthorpe, Assistant Editor at BBC Look North, to take on the 60 mile route, just four weeks after they all completed the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 46 together.

Since launching seven years ago, the Selby Three Swans Sportive, organised by Yorkshire Cancer Research in partnership with Selby Cycling Club and Inspiring healthy lifestyles, has raised more than £100,000 to fund vital research and services in the region. Sally lost her leg to bone cancer in her 20s and more recently recovered from breast cancer.

Former GB para-cyclist and BBC Look North journalist Sally Hurst will officially set off cyclists in the Selby Three Swans Sportive this Sunday

She said: “I’ve spent a lot of time in the Bexley Wing at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds and I always had great treatment from the nurses and doctors there, so it’s great to be able to give something back. It’s good to know that the money being raised in Yorkshire is going to a local hospital to try to improve things there. That’s quite personal to me and something I’m very happy to support.”

Sally was diagnosed with a type of primary bone cancer called osteosarcoma in 2005, when she was just 26. She underwent an above the knee amputation and chemotherapy. 

Following the 2012 Paralympics, Sally attended a Paralympic sports event where she had the opportunity to try out different sports. After speaking to representatives from British Cycling, she attended a testing day and was accepted onto the GB cycling talent squad for disabled athletes. 

Sally spent the next three years training with the development and academy squads, competing in international events including a road world cup in South Africa and track world championships in Italy. 

In 2017, she was shocked to find out she had stage 2 breast cancer. Her treatment plan included chemotherapy, biological therapy, radiotherapy and a breast removal and reconstruction. 

Sally said: “Before I lost my leg I spent a lot of time outdoors and for seven years after being diagnosed I really missed that. I can’t walk very far but I can cycle very far. It’s given me a feeling of freedom, and the chance to access countryside and parts of the world that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to experience. It’s changed my life.

“I’m a big advocate of doing exercise when going through cancer treatment if you can. I continued to cycle throughout my breast cancer treatment and I really believe that the fitter you are the easier it is to get through it. I’m looking forward to joining all the other riders at the Selby Three Swans Sportive, many of whom will have their own personal experiences with cancer.”

Tanya, who only began cycling earlier this year, added: “People tend to think about sport at the elite level. But it’s not just about what professional clubs do on a weekend. I’ve always been interested in people’s stories – from the person who wins to the person who loses – and what sport can do for all of us.  

“Sally changed when she took up cycling. As well as getting her freedom back, she really regained her confidence. We’re all so proud of her. We’re like a huge family cheering her on. Of course, that means she’s a hard person to say no to, so when she asked us to get involved in the Prudential ride and the Selby Three Swans it was always going to be a ‘yes’. She always says that if she can do it with one leg, we can do it with two. She’s an inspiration to us all.”

There are still a few places left in the Selby Three Swans Sportive. To sign up online before midday on Thursday, 29 August 2019, please visit There will be a limited number of places available to purchase on a first come, first serve basis between 10am and 2pm on Saturday, August 31, and on the day of the event at Summit Indoor Adventure, Selby. Those wishing to sign up on the day are advised to arrive as early as possible.



About Yorkshire Cancer Research
•    Yorkshire Cancer Research was founded in 1925 and is the largest independent regional cancer charity in England (Registered Charity 516898). We are not part of a national charity. 
•    Current statistics show that 583 people are diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire every week. 
•    Our mission is for 2,000 more people to survive cancer every year in Yorkshire. 
•    There are lots of cancer problems across the region that need to be tackled on a local level. We work in partnership with researchers, clinicians, the NHS, public health bodies and other charities to fund innovative work in four key areas: prevention, early diagnosis, treatment and clinical trials. 
•    For more information, please visit or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.


Nikki Brady, Senior PR Officer, Yorkshire Cancer Research. Tel: 01423 877228. Email:


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