Zoe Ball rides through Shropshire in memory of her partner - with pictures

By Jordan Reynolds | Shrewsbury | News | Published: | Last Updated:

Presenter Zoe Ball was in Shropshire as part of a gruelling 350-mile charity cycle ride in memory of her boyfriend who took his own life.

The former Live & Kicking presenter, former wife of Fatboy Slim Norman Cook, cycled into Wem on Tuesday afternoon on the second day of her Sport Relief Hardest Road Home challenge.

Zoe and her team arrived just before 4.30pm to the sound of a clapping crowd which had formed.

She was smiling behind her cycling glasses and gave the crowds a wave and thanked them.

Zoe stopped at The White Lion in High Street for a bite to eat and physio.

Families came out to see Zoe and waited for her outside the pub to watch her get back on the road.

She joked about people taking pictures of her eating cake before climbing back on her bike.

“I’m so tired but when you come around the corner and see everyone cheering it makes a real difference,” she said.


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Zoe cycled on to Upton Magna where she was staying overnight.

She had set off from Widnes yesterday morning.


Tomorrow she is due to set off early, passing through Atcham and Ironbridge before heading into the wider West Midlands as part of her ride from Blackpool to Brighton.

Zoe Ball on day two of the challenge, joined by John Bishop. Photo: Victoria Dawe Photography.

She managed to chalk off 70 miles today, with a visit from Scouse comedian John Bishop encouraging her.

"I am absolutely elated. I was really emotional cycling yesterday and had a little cry behind my specs but the support has really been amazing,” Zoe added.

"My physio gave me a lukewarm dunk in the bath, put me in compression tights and my legs are feeling OK after day one but we still have more to come.

"I am very much lifted by all the support.”

Professor Greg Whyte trained Zoe and has been riding with her.

He said: “The warmth of a cheer from a crowd gets inside you and makes a massive difference.

“She’s going great guns, it’s a tough challenge but she’s coping really well.

“We has a fantastic first day and we were very fortunate with the weather so it went really smoothly.

“She’s really chipper and buoyant and is pushing herself.

“Her legs, arms and neck are really aching but she’s still loving it.

Zoe Ball in Wem

“She’s also loving the people who are out supporting her and donating.

“It’s been nice for us to cycle through rural Shropshire after being in cities which is a nice route.”

The 47-year-old is taking part in the Sport Relief Challenge to raise awareness of mental health issues after her boyfriend Billy Yates hanged himself.

She said: “I lost someone very dear to me who really struggled with depression.

“It was really important that I did something. Thinking of the reason I signed up for this challenging adventure will spur me on.

“Knowing that every penny we raise will make such a difference to so many different people’s lives is a great feeling.

“I hope that my endeavours inspire others to do something that moves them for Sport Relief, too.”

To sponsor Zoe, visit

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.


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