The first leg of a long ride is always accompanied by mixed emotions. Excitement, apprehension, and anticipation are all common feelings as one sets out to conquer a new challenge. These sentiments are increased even further when there is a special reason for undertaking the journey. Cycling has long been a favored activity of fundraising campaigns – the passion, endurance, and patience, all crucial to the sport, serving as apt qualities to describe the sort of people who embark on this kind of selfless endeavor.
This July, a Wallasey woman will be taking a very meaningful ride from London to Paris in order to raise money for Wirral Hospice St John’s. Collette Morris is making the 300-mile journey in memory of her loving mother, Sue, who sadly passed away in the care of the Clatterbridge-based facility. When Collette saw the opportunity to take part and raise money for the home that provided such exceptional care for her beloved mother during the last days of her life, she decided it was something she had to do.
Collette’s mother spent most of the four-month period between her diagnosis and passing in the care of St. John’s Hospice. She remarks that, “In the simplest terms, they gave us peace of mind knowing mum was getting the best car she possibly could, and in a place where she felt safe and could have her loved ones around her.” In a generous gesture to thank everyone who made this possible, and to ensure others are able to continue receiving the same quality of care in the future, Collette is taking on a challenge that would be daunting to many.
A notable route for cycling enthusiasts, the trip from the English to French capital is one of the great cycling experiences in Europe. Typically spanning 4 days, the trip encompasses long hours in the saddle and some very strenuous hill-climbs, culminating in a finishing point at the Eiffel Tower itself. An inspirational and challenging undertaking, it is safe to say that those who accomplish this feat are not likely to forget it.
The long journey typically starts through rural Kent, winding through picturesque British countryside, along the North Downs Way before reaching the white cliffs of Dover. After arriving in Calais by ferry, the ride continues 200 miles past historical landmarks, famous battlefields and through the small villages and medieval market towns of Northern France. The final day of cycling is dominated by the looming cityscape of Paris with the Eiffel Tower in plain sight. Ending in the capitol on July 24th, Collette and her companions will arrive amongst the buzz of the Tour de France as the atmosphere builds up for the Grand Finale.
Collette, who is an executive assistant at the Birkenhead-based CPL Training Group, signed up for the challenge in July last year. 300 miles is no easy feat, even for an experienced cyclist, and she has been training hard for the past nine months. Hoping to raise more than £2,000 for the facility which cared for her mother, it is sure to be an emotional and incredibly rewarding ride.
Wirral Hospice St John’s is a specialist facility that provides free care and support to patients with life-limiting illnesses, with support for caregivers and loved ones as well, family is at the heart of everything they do. The hospice costs approximately £3.5m a year to run, with the majority of funding coming from local individuals, companies, community groups and charitable trusts. A true testament to the power and passion of the cycling community, a lot of this fundraising is accomplished by individuals willing to get in the saddle and make the long journey from London to Paris. We wish Collette all the best in her courageous journey and hope that her bravery encourages others to do the same.