A group of eight Bristol men are taking on an epic cycling challenge to raise money for the Hospice
Jon Druitt, Dominic Carroll, Stuart O'Donnell, Mathew Forster, Nick Mathews, Jim Cook, Ricky Jones and Jason Lawry are cycling from Bristol to Paris from Wednesday 26 to Saturday 29 June, a total distance of 344 miles.
The group, a mix of rugby teammates, Bristol tradesmen and friends are aiming to raise at least £3,500 for St Peter’s Hospice.
Stuart proposed the challenge to raise money for a local cause, and the Hospice was chosen by the group as both Jon and Dom have experienced the charity’s care first-hand. Jon received counselling support from the Hospice following the death of his Dad, Peter, while Dom’s mother received care from the Hospice.
The whole team have visited Brentry to see the new Inpatient Unit facilities and find out more about the work done by the charity.
“My father lost an 18-month battle with leukaemia back in 2010,” said Jon. “I was struggling to deal with the grief and didn't know which way to turn.”
“Thankfully I was put in contact with St Peter’s Hospice who offered me counselling, free of charge, for as long as I needed. They genuinely got me back on my feet and able to move forward with my life.
“Stu approached me to take part in this ride with him to raise money for the Hospice and I didn’t even think about my answer.
“I am delighted to be giving a little back and we are all so thankful for all the generous donations from individuals and sponsorship from local businesses. The original target was £3,500 but I would like to think we will raise closer to £10,000 by the end of the ride!”
With seven out of eight members cycling novices, a careful training regime – which has included 100km at the Hospice’s Tour de Bristol event in April – has been followed, and the group have put in 50km rides at weekends as well as shorter midweek cycles to get into peak condition.
The route will take the team from Bristol to Portsmouth on Wednesday 26 June before an overnight ferry to Le Havre. Two 70-mile legs follow on Thursday and Friday before the final approach to Paris on Saturday 29 June.
They will be followed by a support van and ten Bristol businesses have provided sponsorship for the challenge: GSH Architects, Bristol Volksfest, Howdens, WC Mechanical, BCMServ, FK Carpentry, Your Electrical, IAM Financial, Kellaway Building Supplies, Cook Brown Building Control, Green Spinnaker, Bristol Sport, The Parker Clinic, Trinity Flooring and Charisma Blinds and City Financial Planning.
Visit justgiving.com/fundraising/the-not-so-grand-tour to follow the team’s progress and to make a donation.