Having launched the annual campaign for Northamptonshire’s favourite bike ride in aid of the county’s Cynthia Spencer Hospice back in March, writes Anna Murby, nothing was going to stop Saints star Piers Francis from leaping into the saddle at this weekend’s Cycle4Cynthia – apart from a Rugby World Cup call-up that is!
The centre, who played in all of England’s pre-tournament warm-up matches, including their emphatic wins over Ireland and Italy, had pledged to pedal in Sunday’s ride after hearing the emotional accounts of those families who’ve experienced the Hospice’s care, but is currently part of Eddie Jones’ squad as they prepare to take on Tonga in their group opener.
Speaking from their training base in Japan, Piers says that, while he’s thrilled to be pulling on the white jersey for his country again, he’s disappointed not to be joining the hundreds of other cyclists who’ll be turning out in force on Sunday: “I was really moved by the stories that I heard at the launch event in the spring and so of course I said I would take part in the main event and there’s video footage to prove it!” explained Piers.
“But back then I was still recovering from injury and had no idea I would be playing at the top level again, so while I’m excited that Eddie has put his trust in me, I’m sorry not to be on the start line, but I’ll be following the footage on social media and of course I wish everyone a fabulous day!”
“Honestly, nothing else would have stopped me being there and I hope anyone with two wheels will take part and show the Hospice the support it deserves, even if I can’t be there!” he added.
Those are sentiments echoed by Cynthia Spencer’s fundraising manager, John Helm, who is hoping that there’ll be a great turnout: “I want to say a big thank you to all those who have already signed up but it’s not too late to join us, with registration available at the Hospice on Saturday between 10am and 12 noon or riders can simply turn up at Holdenby on Sunday from 8am” explained John.
“With every penny raised in entry fees and sponsorship going towards the incredible work of the Hospice, helping patients and their families when they need it most, we really hope to have a record number of riders, so please come along and be with us at what we know will be a truly inspirational day!” he enthused.
Despite Piers’ absence, the Saints’ longstanding association with Cycle4Cynthia, which has seen former and present club stars including Bruce Reihana, Sam Dickinson, Harry Mallinder and Dylan Hartley all give their time to the cause, thankfully continues in the form of this year’s celebrity starter, fly-half James Grayson, who will be firing the starting hooter at Holdenby House for this, the sixteenth year of the ride.
Cycle4Cynthia 2019, again being generously supported by headline sponsor EMW Law LLP, is taking place from 9am this Sunday 22nd September at Holdenby House by kind permission of James and Karen Lowther, with 5, 25 and 50 mile routes on offer to riders of all ages and abilities.
Entry is £20 for adults, £10 for children or £50 for families.
For more information, the please call the Hospice on 01604 210941 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also complete the online entry form by visiting the ‘register’ page on the ride’s website – www.cycle4cynthia.co.uk – before 8am this Friday, when online entry closes.
Meanwhile to keep up to date with the latest news on the event, please visit and ‘like’ the ride’s and Hospice’s pages on Facebook.