Sign-ups encouraged for Hospices to Holland cycling challenge

St Wilfrid’s Hospice has teamed up with St Michael’s Hospice in Hastings to offer the cycling challenge of a lifetime and raise vital funds for hospice care.

People are being encouraged to sign up for the five-day Hospices to Holland challenge, taking place between Wednesday 18th and Sunday 22nd September 2024.

Participants will be asked to raise sponsorship money for the cycle, which will pass along the south coast, across the channel, and then through the cycle-friendly cities and countryside in France, Belgium and Holland.

Medical Director, Dr David Barclay, works across both hospices and said: ‘St Wilfrid’s and St Michael’s Hospices work closely together so we thought this was a perfect fundraising event to team up for. We ask for the public’s support as it costs more than £34,000 to offer the services of both hospices every day – and we only receive around a third of this from government funding.

‘We’ve already got 39 riders signed up, but there’s plenty of room for more people to get involved. This is a challenge for adults of all ages and abilities. We held a similar event in the past and the oldest participant was 65. You don’t need to be a great cyclist already, but you do need to be prepared to do some training. It’s not until next Autumn so there’s plenty of time to prepare and fundraise.’

One participant who has already signed up is Kate Watkins, who joined St Wilfrid’s Hospice as a Nurse last year. She said: ‘I’m taking on the ride in memory of my brother Tony, who died at St Wilfrid’s in 2018. His stay took that huge sense of worry away for the family as we knew he was being looked after. He had 24-hour care and if he needed something, it was available. It would have been much tougher without their support.

‘I’ve already started fundraising for Hospices to Holland and tried lots of different approaches, along with others who are taking part. I’ve cleared out the loft and sold items at car boot sales, made up hampers to raffle off, created a guess the number of sweets in a jar and raffled a bunny I made myself.

‘We have a race night coming up at a local pub and we’ll be exploring many more fundraising opportunities over the coming months. All the money soon adds up, you just need to be creative. I’m so excited to do the ride even though it will push me out of my comfort zone mentally and physically,’ Kate said.

For more information on the challenge, visit www.hospicestoholland.co.uk, or for St Wilfrid’s Hospice, email fundraising@stwhospice.org or call 01323 434241. For St Michael’s Hospice, email info@stmichaelshospice.com or call 01424 445177.

St Wilfrid’s and St Michael’s Hospices provide high-quality care and support for people with life-limiting illnesses. St Wilfrid’s covers Eastbourne, Seaford, Hailsham, Uckfield, Heathfield (and all points between), while St Michael’s covers Hastings and Rother.

Pictured: Kate Watkins

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