A Great Wyrley fundraiser will be cycling to Land’s End next month to thank St Giles Hospice for the care we gave her husband and mother during their final days with cancer.
Lisa Pearce and her friend Kate McCaffrey will set off from her husband’s memorial bench on Shoal Hill Common, Cannock Chase, on August 14th and plan to cover the 400 miles to Britain’s south-western tip in four days.
Lisa said: “St Giles were just so wonderful to me and my family when we needed it most and I want to do everything I can to raise money to support their work.
“It will be very emotional and I’m sure there will be times when I don’t want to go on, but the memory of my loved ones will spur me on and we want to make sure that St Giles will be there for other people when they need it – just like they were there for me.”
Lisa’s husband Winston ‘Wink’ Bakewell was diagnosed with bladder cancer on his 59th birthday in 2009 and died 11 months later, spending his final week at St Giles Hospice in Whittington.
“Everyone at St Giles was unbelievably remarkable during those days. I could stay with Wink for as long as I wanted and everyone was as helpful to me and my family as they could be – nothing at all was too much trouble for them,” added Lisa. “I’ve heard the people at St Giles described as angels and I can see why – everyone was such a massive comfort.”
Bereavement support services at St Giles continued to help Lisa and her sons Harry and William after Wink’s death. Then in 2014, Lisa’s mum June Simkiss, who also lived in Great Wyrley, was diagnosed with cancer which had spread to her stomach and spent her final three months at home supported by St Giles Hospice.
Lisa said: “It meant that my dad and I could have a break and we found it particularly comforting knowing there was someone around to take the pressure off us and who we could turn to for support and guidance.
“When we felt overwhelmed they were there to give you a hug and say you were doing brilliant.”
Lisa first began fundraising for St Giles after Wink died, taking part in the short Cycle St Giles ride and then graduating to the longer rides. For the Land’s End trip she will be supported by Kate, a teacher at Cannock Chase High School, where Harry and William had been pupils.
“After the last Cycle St Giles I felt I needed a new challenge and came up with the idea of cycling to Land’s End – and Kate said yes straight away,” said Lisa. “We’ll be supported on the ride by my second husband John Pearce, who has been a massive help to me and the boys and has encouraged me so much with my fundraising. My sons have also cheered me on all the way, which is a wonderful morale raiser.
“Phil Kelly at 52twelve Fitness in Tamworth has helped Kate and I with our training and Bridgtown Cycles in Cannock have carried out bike safety checks and will be helping us with any spares we may need. The whole community has come together to give us the most amazing encouragement.”
Elinor Eustace, Director of Fundraising at St Giles Hospice, said: “Lisa and Kate are a true inspiration to everyone at St Giles. The support of our fundraisers is vital to the work we do and we are always extremely grateful when people arrange their own events to raise money for us.
“There are lots of adventurous people out in our community and we’d like to encourage anyone thinking of challenging themselves to prove they are a true charity champion by raising funds for St Giles Hospice at the same time.”
To support Lisa and Kate on their cycle ride please visit justgiving.com/fundraising/landsendchallenge
Picture: Kate McCaffrey (left) and Lisa Pearce.