How do you turn thousands of cycle wheel revolutions into hundreds of hours of vital hospice care? Simple! You challenge riders at Northamptonshire’s favourite charity pedal, Cycle4Cynthia, to Bike4Bedtime!
So it was that the biggest fundraiser in the calendar of the county’s Cynthia Spencer Hospice saw hundreds of cyclists take to their saddles for the sixteenth year of this most popular annual event, staged this year at Holdenby House (Sun. 22nd Sept.).
Cycle4Cynthia’s new initiative, Bike4Bedtime, saw teams of cyclists pledge to raise £504, the amount it costs to pay for one day’s expert, specialist care for one patient at the Hospice’s inpatient unit and before firing the starting hooter to send the pedallers on their way, Saints star James Grayson commended those who had turned out to show their support: “I visited the Hospice earlier this year and was absolutely blown away by the staff and volunteers and the amazing work they do to support patients and their families, and your being here today demonstrates that Cynthia Spencer means the same to you” said James.
“Every pound you raise so generously will enable the Hospice to offer even more hours of care for those who need it so, on behalf of the charity, thank you so much for coming and enjoy your ride!” he grinned.
Among those demonstrating their commitment to the cause were Georgina and Derek Smith from Boughton, who, with their sons Brodie, 5, and 4-year-old Indi, were taking part in Cycle4Cynthia for the first time in memory of two family members, as Georgina explained: “My brother-in-law Tony and father-in-law Derek passed away at the Hospice and so we really wanted to be here today and to raise money to show our gratitude to those who looked after them both so brilliantly” said Georgina.
“Not only have we had a fantastic time, coming out together as a family to take part in this amazing event, but also we’re so incredibly proud of the boys because they’ve managed to raise almost £200 in sponsorship already and the money is still coming in!” she added.
Just to prove that CycleCynthia, with its 5, 25 and 50-mile routes across the rolling Northamptonshire countryside, is enjoyed by all ages, septuagenarian friends Keith Chant and Jenny Eales rode the middle distance side by side. Keith, who was on the eve of his 79th birthday, was paying tribute to his late son Paul by wearing his cycling kit and riding his bike, while seventy-one-year old Jenny lost her mother, Iris, at the Hospice twelve years ago. After receiving their medals, the pair congratulated each other on their impressive achievement before pledging to do the 50 mile route in 2020!
With Cycle4Cynthia raising around £70k annually, it’s hoped that a similar figure from this year’s ride will equate to some 140 days’ care – that’s almost five months of support for one patient and their family, and it was with that in mind that the Hospice’s fundraising manager, John Helm, offered his gratitude to all those who’d helped make the day as special as ever: “Cycle4Cynthia is our flagship event in the calendar and, yet again, I remain humbled by the kindness and generosity of those who have come out today in force to take part” said John.
“So to our marshals and volunteers, our pitstop teams en route, our generous headline sponsor EMW Law LLP, the team from Chelton Brown who both funded and handed out the medals, our other sponsors, Leisure Lakes Bikes at Daventry who kept the riders’ bikes in good order and of course to the cyclists themselves, we cannot say thank you enough for your support which will ultimately fund many, many more hours of vital care” he enthused.
It will be some time before it is known exactly how many days’ care the 2019 event will yet fund but, for now, riders are kindly encouraged to collect their sponsorship money and drop it in at Cynthia Spencer Hospice’s Manfield Campus on Northampton’s Kettering Road or post a cheque made payable to ‘Cycle4Cynthia’ to Cynthia Spencer Hospice, Pondwood House, Pondwood Close, Northampton NN3 6RT.
Photos from the event are on the ride’s Facebook page and on the gallery page of its website – www.cycle4cynthia.co.uk
Meanwhile, to pledge your sponsorship or involvement in next year’s ride, please contact the Hospice on 01604 210941 or email firstname.lastname@example.org