Founder of Northamptonshire charity raises ‘mind-blowing’ £22,000 during gruelling tandem cycle challenge

“Humbled, emotional, immensely grateful, and proud”
Lucy Smith during her cycle challenge.Lucy Smith during her cycle challenge.
Lucy Smith during her cycle challenge.

A co-founder of a Northamptonshire charity has returned from her tandem cycle challenge having raised a “mind-blowing” £22,000 so that children with life-limiting conditions can access music therapy.

Over the last two weeks, Lucy Smith from Boughton and her cycling buddy Mike Ives have ridden their tandem bike 1,027 miles from Lands’ End to John O’Groats, across exhausting long stretches and backbreaking mountains, as part of #tandemlejog2020 – a Thomas’s Fund fundraiser she had postponed for two years.

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Lucy and Mike were joined by Matt Plews for the whole adventure on his solo bike, supported by Lucy’s husband Tim Smith, and also joined by friends from their cycling club Welland Valley CC for several days too.

The team at the finish line.The team at the finish line.
The team at the finish line.

Heart-warming messages have been flooding in for the team on social media from famous names and sportspeople including cycling Tour De France veteran and commentator Dan Lloyd, and Phillipe Gilbert, current pro cyclist and former world champion. Earl Spencer – lead patron to the charity - also sent a personal message congratulating them on their success.

Lucy, the mother of Thomas whose name the charity was founded 15 years ago, said: “We had a target of £10,000 and have more than doubled it. To have returned home having raised this much is just extraordinary, and I really don't have the words to describe how I feel about it. Humbled, emotional, immensely grateful, and proud would most definitely be amongst them though.

“It has been the toughest thing I have ever done, and the whole team effort is something I will never forget.

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“The challenge very nearly never happened due to Covid initially, and then my husband Tim, who was meant to complete it with me, found out he needed two emergency back operations and spent more than three weeks in hospital. Luckily Mike was able to step in at the very last minute and we smashed it beyond all expectations.

“This money has been raised through sponsorship, donations, raffle tickets sales and other activities, and will make such a difference to the children and families we support with music therapy. We would like to thank everybody who has encouraged, supported, and donated to make this whole challenge such a success.”

The money is the most Thomas’s Fund has ever raised through one campaign. The £22,000 will go towards music therapy sessions for more than 30 young people and children who have life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses in the county.

It will also help fund a pilot project at Kettering General Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit which will support babies and their parents in their transition home.

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Lucy’s eldest son Thomas died in 2004 aged 10 from a degenerative neurological condition, and his brother Harry suffered from the same condition and passed away in 2010 aged 12. Both boys had long periods of time where they were unable to go to school and access music therapy, and Thomas’s Fund now supports children in this same situation.

Earl Spencer added: “I just want to send my congratulations to Lucy and the team on this amazing achievement. The financial success has been greater than we all anticipated and hoped for and will enable this fabulous charity to continue their great efforts.”

Sponsorship and donations are still being collected on the JustGiving page.