St Giles Hospice is hoping to relaunch its programme of fundraising events over the next few months – starting with Cycle Spring in May.
Events like Cycle Spring and their annual Solstice Walk raise more than £300,000 each year towards funding care for local people living with terminal illness and their families and, as Coronavirus restrictions begin to be lifted, the hospice is planning to bring the events calendar back as soon as Government guidelines allow.
Cycle Spring is planned to take place on Sunday 23rd May, with COVID-compliant measures in place.
2020 was an extremely difficult year in which to raise vital funds for the charity that saw closure of their shops and cancellation of many fundraising events – making the 2021 events programme more important than ever in raising vital funds for hospice care.
Chloe Herbert, Head of Fundraising at St Giles Hospice, said: “If England continues to meet the Government’s COVID-19 milestones, we are hoping that our events should be able to go ahead this year – starting with Cycle Spring.
“We’re absolutely delighted at the thought of being able to welcome back our wonderful fundraisers in person in 2021 after a year when we’ve had to cancel our events and close our shops, which significantly impacted on our income.
“Whether you’re a regular rider or new to cycling, we’d love you to support us at our COVID-compliant Cycle Spring event. We sincerely hope that Coronavirus restrictions do not result in further cancellations but the safety of our supporters, volunteers and staff is our top priority. Whatever happens, we’ll be keeping our participants up to date with developments.
“If, come May, we can’t get together at Whittington we’ll provide our participants with everything you need to cycle for St Giles in your own time. We’ll make sure that our community can still take part, no matter what! Following sign up, all cyclists will be provided with fundraising packs full of route maps, medals, certificates and more.”
Previous Cycle Spring rides set off from Chasewater, but this year’s event will be starting and finishing at a new location for the first time ever – St Giles Hospice in Whittington.
Riders will be able to choose from three new routes through the beautiful Staffordshire countryside with varying degrees of difficulty. The 27-mile route is open to all cyclists aged 10 and above and the more challenging 52-mile and 76-mile routes are open to riders aged 16 and over.
Arrival times will be staggered from 7.30am to ensure that social distancing measures can be complied with, and bookings are restricted to a maximum of six people from the same household or support bubble.
One person cheering the return of Cycle Spring is Lichfield fundraiser Phil Langham, whose father-in-law was cared for at St Giles Hospice.
Warehouse supervisor Phil, aged 52, took part in his first Cycle Spring event in September 2019 and is hoping to take part again.
Phil said: “I did Cycle Spring for the first time in 2019 and jumped right in at the deep end, doing the most difficult challenge. I really enjoyed it. It was amazing – a really good atmosphere.
“Cycling is a very sociable thing to do and knowing we were all riding for such a good cause gave us a real boost. It’s vital to support specialist services like St Giles Hospice and it’s great to hear that the event is going ahead again this year. The hospice relies so much on the local community for its fundraising and I really felt for St Giles because of the cancellations in 2020.”
Phil has supported St Giles since his wife Helen’s dad, Denis Parsons, was cared for by the hospice in 2011 before his death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He took part the 2019 ride with a team of fellow worshippers from Lichfield’s Wade Street Church.
Phil added: “St Giles Hospice is such a lovely place. My father-in-law felt comfortable there and the staff were really good. They always did what they could to help, and the nurses were brilliant, really attentive.
“I would definitely encourage people to take part in a cycling challenge for St Giles. It’s a great way to get some exercise and see the countryside and there’s a ride for people of all abilities – you can be as adventurous as you like!”
Cyclists booking a place before midnight on Wednesday 31st March can enjoy an early bird offer of £25, and entry at £27 closes at midday on Thursday 20th May 2021.
Chloe added: “Our cycling events have raised more than £250,000 since they were launched in 2013 and we’d like to thank everyone who has taken part and raised funds for St Giles. Riders like Phil make an enormous contribution which allows us to support more local patients living with a terminal illness and their families.
“With a new location this year we hope many Cycle Spring veterans will return to join our riders on these exciting routes for the first time – and with three to choose from you won’t struggle to find a cycle challenge to suit you or the whole family!”