Saints rugby star, Piers Francis, has poured praise on those pedallers who ignored the rain and turned out in force last autumn for the county’s favourite annual bike ride, Cycle4Cynthia, as he helped to launch the 2019 event.
The Northampton and England centre, who is a passionate cyclist himself, paid tribute to the hundreds of riders who, despite miserable weather last September, raised an impressive £65,000 for Northamptonshire’s Cynthia Spencer Hospice.
Among them was Jessica Pilkington, who led a team of 17 cyclists in memory of her son Harry Chadwick, who was just 19 years old when he passed away last March.
Having been given the opportunity to meet others with cancer as a patient at the day hospice before he died, Harry’s last days were spent at home and it was in enabling that move to familiar surroundings for which Jessica says she couldn’t thank Cynthia Spencer and its Hospice at Home Team enough.
She said: “My sister had lived out her final days at the hospice, where we all experienced the wonderful care of the entire staff, but that Harry was able to die at home, surrounded by his family, was an incredible gift.
“So although last year’s ride was only six months afterwards, we knew we just had to ride as we wanted to show our immense gratitude in the best possible way - by raising
money and ensuring that others have access to such amazing support should they sadly ever need it.”
Indeed, Team Harry’s generous donation of £2,600 – taking the total raised in the 15-year history of the event to almost £600,000 - ultimately saw Piers award Jessica and the team with the Chairman’s Cup, a trophy which is given to someone whose special efforts represent the ‘spirit of the ride’.
Piers also presented the other 2018 trophies, including that for most money raised by an individual, which went to Gary Denton for collecting over £500; to the biggest team, won again by Shirefit East Northants with 52 riders; and for the best fancy dress, which went to friends Lynsey Brecani and Karen Eke.
Meanwhile the award for the corporate team raising the most money went for the second year running to Northampton firm, Piroto Labelling, whose 40 cyclists raised more than £7,000, taking their two-year total to more than £22,000. They were riding in memory of their colleague, Laura Silk, who passed away at Cynthia Spencer in 2017.
The launch event also provided an opportunity for the Hospice’s fund-raising manager, John Helm, to thank the event’s continuing sponsors, including EMW Law LLP, who are headline sponsors for the second time, as well as timber merchants and countrywear specialists, Linnell Bros Ltd, and lettings and sales agent, Chelton Brown.
He added: “Cycle4Cynthia is our biggest fundraiser in the year and £64,807.67 is a fantastic total, especially when you consider how the weather tried to interfere, so we’re incredibly grateful to everyone for their support and would encourage anyone with two wheels to take part this September to help make it the best ride yet".
Cycle4Cynthia 2019 will take place on Sunday, 22nd September at Holdenby House, by kind permission of James and Karen Lowther, with routes of five, 25 and 50 miles on offer.
For more information, including registering for the ride or for details of corporate sponsorship opportunities, please call the Hospice on 01604 21094 or email firstname.lastname@example.org