Thirty cyclists from Octagon Cycling Club are pedalling 300 miles over two days in May to raise money for two local charities. ‘The 300’ is an octagon shaped route from Ely, taking in Letchworth, Aylesbury, Chipping Norton, Birmingham, Loughborough, Grantham and Spalding.
Two of the cyclists are attempting the challenge on a tandem.
The fundraising group will set off from Ely Cathedral at 6am on Saturday 21st May and is aiming to return to the Cathedral by 6pm on Sunday 22nd May.
Octagon Cycling Club, which is well known for fundraising as well as eating cake on their training rides, is aiming to raise £10,000. This will be shared between Addenbrookes Charitable Trust (ACT) and youcanbiketoo which is a local organisation aiming to get everyone cycling, with a particular focus on people with disabilities and families riding together.
Corporate sponsors are being sought, who will have their logos on the cyclists’ team kit in return for their donation. Local businesses wishing to take part can contact Octagon Cycling through the website.
Any individuals who wish to make a personal donation can do so at http://www.act4addenbrookes.org.uk/supporter/Octagon300
Robin Jones, founding member of Octagon Cycling Club and one of the tandem riders, says they have been training hard for this event: “Some have made the ultimate sacrifice and given up cake and alcohol in January and we are regularly covering 50-60 miles on weekend training rides.”
Octagon Cycling Club has very personal reasons for choosing to raise money for ACT this year, as two members have had personal experience of the care provided by Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
Neil Bowman’s son Lucas was born with Supraventricular Tachycardia, a very rare heart condition resulting in a lengthy stay in the Rosie Hospital (PICU & high dependency). After a particularly traumatic few weeks Lucas went on to recover from his early heart complications due to the outstanding expertise and care from his Cardiologist, and is now a lively five-year-old.
Neil comments: “To be told your 6 week old baby is seriously ill and the next 24 hours are critical is the most devastating news any parent could possibly have to hear. We will be eternally grateful to Lucas’ Cardiologist & The Rosie Hospital for ensuring that Lucas recovered from his ordeal and for the on-going care we are receiving. To show our gratitude we will support ACT as much as we can to continue to raise vital funds for our amazing local NHS hospital.”
Fellow cyclist Andrew Turton and his family also have good reason to support ACT. Andrew’s son Edward was born with Down Syndrome and a major heart defect resulting in him spending the first four weeks of his life in NICU. Andrew is full of praise for the hospital staff: “The level of care and support from the nursing staff and Doctors was invaluable for the whole family and Edward is now a year old and doing well.”
Both Neil and Andrew are hoping that some of the funds that Octagon Cycling is aiming to raise will be used for the Children’s Ward and also to support families going through similar experiences and requiring the use of the free on-site accommodation.
This story can be seen in this weeks E for Ely magazine.