First World War cycle challenges creates memories and funds for hospice

PUBLISHED: 07:01 01 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:59 01 October 2018

The group set off from St Christopher's Hospice in South London. Picture: Garden House Hospice Care

The group set off from St Christopher's Hospice in South London. Picture: Garden House Hospice Care

Archant

Cyclists taking part in a Garden House Hospice Care challenge from south London to France have returned, and have raised £14,000 for the Letchworth-based hospice.

A team of 14 cyclists took on the 275 mile challenge in aid of Garden House Hospice Care. Picture: Garden House Hospice CareA team of 14 cyclists took on the 275 mile challenge in aid of Garden House Hospice Care. Picture: Garden House Hospice Care

From September 14 to 17, the team of 14 cyclists cycled 275 miles from St Christopher’s Hospice, via the First World War battlefields of northern France and Belgium, to the site of the 1918 Armistice in the Forest of Compiènge.

En route, the group commemorated the upcoming 100th anniversary of the war at the Menin Gate in Ypres and at historic sites on the Somme and Vimy Ridge.

Director of patient services at the hospice, Jayne Dingemans, laid a wreath at Menin Gate at the end of day two.

The cycle ride has raised £14,000 for hospice care, with donations still coming in.

The hopice's director of patient services Jayne Dingemans laid a wreath at the Menin Gate to mark the anniversary of the end of the First World War. Picture: Garden House Hospice CareThe hopice's director of patient services Jayne Dingemans laid a wreath at the Menin Gate to mark the anniversary of the end of the First World War. Picture: Garden House Hospice Care

Event organiser Richard Harbon said: “The centenary of the end of the First World War is a major event in 2018, and this was the first cycle event the hospice has run.

“The whole event was amazing. We had a wonderful group of riders and support crew who had such a memorable experience, while raising an amazing amount of money.

“Thank you to everyone who took part, volunteers, sponsored and donated.”James Musk, one of the cyclists, crafted a poem highlighting the once in a lifetime trip named ‘Our Journey’.

With the luxury of planning our journey with an end in sight

The group commemorated the 100th anniversary of the end of the war at The Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres and at historic sites on the Somme and Vimy Ridge. Picture: Alan Buckley LtdThe group commemorated the 100th anniversary of the end of the war at The Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres and at historic sites on the Somme and Vimy Ridge. Picture: Alan Buckley Ltd

Our motley crew enlisted, readying body and bike

We trained hard and forged relationships right from the start

United by our challenge, our great cause

And the centenary of our forefathers’ fight

We rallied at St Christopher’s

Full of nervous energy, trepidation of what lay ahead

Our minds wandering to those a century before us

And the magnitude of what they faced instead

With the traffic lights behind us

And the sun sat up high for the day

We found our rhythm on winding country lanes

Following the beautiful pilgrim’s way

Then the hills were upon us

For us rookies our first dose of pain

In those moments we thought of insurmountable losses
Of letters home to blighty for those who remained

With the channel behind us, we rode the open land

Its beauty impossible to deny

But a century ago the truth of war deceived it

Turned it all to mud, nothing more than a dirty lie

In tune with our emotional journey

The path before us rose and fell

We regrouped, regaled, listened

To how heaven turned to hell

We visited battles of significance

Listened to horror stories so difficult to comprehend

Visited memorials and paid our respects
To the millions of wasted souls who found a bloody end

The countryside broke for graveyards

Side by side so beautifully kept

Represented for eternity in Portland stone

Our lost boys laid down to rest

Battle hardened we pushed on

Often with tears in our eyes

Muscles torn by memory and fatigue

Every pedal another thousand lives.

Anyone interested in taking part in a Garden House Hospice Care event should go to ghhospicecare.org.uk or call 01462 679540. To make a donation, go to ghhospicecare.org.uk/support-us/donate.

More news stories

Yesterday, 17:00

A photo of Elton John which was taken by a Letchworth musician is being used for the backdrop of the star’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour.

Yesterday, 16:00

“Don’t ignore hate – report it.” That is the message that pupils from across Hertfordshire heard at an event marking National Hate Crime Awareness Week.

Yesterday, 12:37

A neighbour called the police this morning after witnessing a man trying to break into a home with a hammer.

Yesterday, 12:04

A 26-year-old man from Hitchin has been arrested on suspicion of taking a vehicle without consent and drink driving.

Most read stories

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the The Comet e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

The Comet weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy