Hitchin couple set to cycle around the Isle of Wight for mum with arthritis

Teresa Shakespeare-Smith with her daughter Stephanie White and her fiance Lewis Stockwell. Picture:

Teresa Shakespeare-Smith with her daughter Stephanie White and her fiance Lewis Stockwell. Picture: Alan Millard. - Credit: Archant

A couple from Hitchin are set to cycle around the Isle of Wight today in aid of a rheumatoid arthritis charity close to their hearts.

Former Priory School pupils Steph White and Lewis Stockwell will be tackling the 70-mile coastal course around the island to raise money for the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) because Steph’s mum suffers from the debilitating condition.

University of Bedfordshire student Stephanie said: “My fiancé Lewis and I got into cycling through the Bike to Work scheme.

“We were soon going out on longer and more adventurous bike rides. We then mentioned cycling the Isle of Wight for to raise money for a charity which does great work with rheumatoid arthritis, and it went from there.

“Mum was really happy when we told her.

“We aimed to raise £1,000 but are only £50 short of it already so we are just looking to raise as much as we can now. We’re a bit nervous about it – I think Lewis is looking forward to it!”

Steph’s mum Teresa Shakespeare-Smith, who has been living with the disease for 10 years explained: “We’d like to make people aware of the wealth of information available from NRAS, and there is a local group meeting quarterly in Hertfordshire.

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“We also want to dispel the misconception rheumatoid arthritis is the same as osteoarthritis – which is due to wear and tear on the joints. It’s completely different.

“Mine started when I was 42. Within a couple of months I was almost bedridden.

“I would also like to say a big thank you to the fabulous rheumatology team at Lister Hospital, Stevenage.

“People are so quick to send in complaints, but I can’t fault their care of me over the last 10 years – and of course I’d like to say a big thank you to my daughter and her fiance for cycling the Isle of Wight.”

If you’d like to donate to the growing fund, you can do so online at www.justgiving.com/iowbike.

You can find out more about the condition and the charity’s work at www.nras.org.uk or www.nras.org.uk/groups

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