Organisers hope the event will see hundreds of cyclists don their helmets and mount their bikes to complete either a 25 or 60-mile route across Staffordshire in support of the charity, which cares for local people living with cancer and other serious illnesses.
Zoe Westwood, Events Organiser for St Giles Hospice, says: “We’re really excited to be launching the Walsall Cycle Ride this year. We have organised a Whittington Cycle Ride in September for several years and it’s been so popular that we decided this year that Walsall should have its own event run along similar lines.
“It’s a great event to take part in so we’d like to encourage people to sign up today and start getting sponsored to help support the specialist care we deliver in a fun and active way!”
The Walsall Cycle Ride is set to start and finish at Chasewater Country Park on Sunday 7th May. Entry is £25 per person and includes a breakfast sandwich, soup and a bread roll, to keep competitors going on their bikes! Participants must be aged 16 or above.
Entry fees cover the cost of St Giles running the event, so participants are all encouraged to consider being sponsored to take part, although sponsorship is not compulsory. One hundred per cent of all sponsorship raised will go directly to St Giles Walsall Hospice. The hospice is a 12-bed in-patient facility based at the Palliative Care Centre in Goscote, offering specialist care for patients with cancer and other serious illnesses who are too ill to remain at home, as well as respite stays and symptom relief.
Its total annual running costs are £1.6 million and with only half of this amount funded by the NHS, St Giles Walsall Hospice relies heavily on donations and income generation from the local community to raise £800,000 a year.
Chris Heming, whose husband Philip was cared for by St Giles Walsall Hospice, says: “We cannot fault the care they provided Philip and I’d like to let people know that the care at the in-patient unit is second to none. The staff truly are angels.”
The Walsall Cycle Ride 25-mile route will cover Hazelslade, Longdon, Armitage and Gentleshaw, while the 60-mile route will pass through Cannock Chase, Penkridge, Bradley, Derrington, Apeton, Lapley and Hednesford.
More information about the event and an online entry form is available at www.stgileshospice.com/support_our_work/CycleRideWalsall.html.
A date has also been set for the Whittington Cycle Ride which will take place on Sunday 10th September, and more information about this event will be available on the website in the next few weeks.