Garden House Hospice Care supporters to cycle to First World War battlefields
- Credit: Archant
Two of the cyclists ready to take on Garden House Hospice Care’s First World War centenary cycle challenge to France and Belgium have been speaking about what it means to be part of the trip.
The Letchworth-based hospice has organised a bike ride to cover more than 250 miles across England, France and Belgium to visit historic battlefields, commemorating the centenary of the end of the First World War.
The 14 cyclists will set off from St Christopher’s Hospice in south London on Friday and will head to France along Pilgrims Way, before stopping at Ypres to witness the Last Post at the Menin Gate.
The ride – which also takes participants through the battlefields of Ypres, Loos, Vimy Ridge and the Somme – will end in the Forest of Compienge, the site of the Armistice.
Event leader Richard Harbon said: “The centenary of the end of the First World War is a major event in 2018, being the first cycle event the hospice has run.
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“I am excited to go with a group of passionate cyclists who have been in training together while raising sponsorship for the hospice.
“We hope to make memories that will last a lifetime, as well as raise vital funds for the hospice.”
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One cyclist taking part is Antony Bailey, who will ride in memory of his father who lived in Royston for 38 years and sadly died in June.
He said; “Garden House Hospice Care is an amazing place and helped my dad so much. I want to try and give something back to the hospice, that survives largely on donations.
“The WW1 centenary charity bike ride will cover over 250 miles through three countries over four days. Any donations to support my challenge would be welcome, as every penny will go to the hospice.”
Jayne Dingemans, who is the director of patient services and has previously taken on the the London Marathon, was the first to volunteer for the ride.
She said: “I am privileged to manage the staff who directly care for patients diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and their loved ones.
“I have never gone long distances on a road bike before and it has been a personal challenge requiring a significant amount of training.
“I am looking forward to paying my respects to those men who gave their lives for us 100 years ago.”