Nine cyclists are embarking on an epic cycling challenge covering 370 miles from London to Newcastle to support The Sick Children’s Trust.
Led by David Plane, from Danbury, Essex, the team will set off from Rainbow House in central London on 7 June before making their way to all ten of the charity’s ‘Homes from Home’, located in London, Cambridge, Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle. They will then cross the finish line on the 11 June at Crawford House in Newcastle.
Joining David in taking on The Long Ride Home will be fellow cyclists Jack Bloy, Jon Bloy, Tim Burdett, Steve Cook, David Ferguson, Mark Goudy, Ollie Newman and Graeme Savill. The team are aiming to raise much-needed funds so that The Sick Children’s Trust can continue supporting families while their children are seriously ill in hospital. Thanks to generous donations from headline sponsors Project One London and IMed Consultancy as well as Deliver Media, Kiasu Workforce and Buckinghamshire orthopaedic hand surgeon Andy Hacker, the team have already raised £30,000 but they are hoping to raise even more.
David has a close connection to The Sick Children’s Trust, being supported by the charity in 2015 when his son, Brody, needed specialist treatment at The Royal London Hospital. Brody wasn’t breathing when he was born after inhaling meconium during labour. He spent 30 days fighting for his life, 60 minutes away from the family’s home in Chigwell, Essex, where they were living at the time.
Throughout Brody’s treatment David and his wife, Lesa Bennett, were supported with a free place to stay at Stevenson House located close to the hospital so they were always by Brody’s side. Stevenson House is one of the ten ‘Homes from Home’ run by The Sick Children’s Trust that The Long Ride Home team will visit on their epic cycle.
Since Brody’s recovery David has passionately raised funds for the charity. He took part in the London Marathon in 2019 as well as Ride London this year and he’s now all set for his biggest challenge yet. David said:
“There’s a lot of anticipation building within the team now as we’re all looking forward to getting on the road. We’re having a lot of fun with the training and encouraging each other through our weekly training leader board. It’s a huge challenge covering about 100km a day, but having the support of the team I know we’ll get each other over the line. It feels less daunting than doing a solo challenge because we have that support and camaraderie.
“It was an awful time when Brody was in hospital, especially during the first two weeks as we really feared the worst for our son. During all the heartache and uncertainty, we were offered a place to stay at Stevenson House, which was located just a few minutes’ walk from Brody’s hospital bedside.
“The ‘Home from Home’ meant we could be with Brody at any time. We could read him bedtime stories, visit him at all hours and take every step with him. If it wasn’t for Stevenson House, we would’ve felt like were abandoning our son. It was invaluable that we got to spend that time with him.
“We’ll never forget the support The Sick Children’s Trust gave us. We want to help in whatever way we can to raise money to help other families who find themselves in a similar situation to us, and to also increase awareness of the charity’s work and the difference their support makes to families with sick children.
“Knowing that Lesa, Brody and his younger sister, Patsy, are cheering me on and supporting me at home will give me all the encouragement I need to complete this challenge.”
With children often transferred from local hospitals to major paediatric centres for specialist care, families are often faced with travelling long distances to be by their child’s side. As well as raising vital funds, The Long Ride Home recognises the challenges faced by those families to stay together. The Sick Children’s Trust does not charge families to stay in any of its ‘Homes from Home’ however it does cost the charity £40 to support a family for one night. Head of Fundraising, Vanessa Simmons, said:
“This is a brand-new fundraising challenge for our supporters and we can’t thank David and the team enough for being the first to take on The Long Ride Home. It’s a massive challenge but we know they are all going to do brilliantly and we’ll be there at every leg of journey to cheer them on. We’re so incredibly grateful for their support.
“Our ‘Homes from Home’ are much more than bricks and mortar. Our friendly, caring staff provide vital support to families when they need it most. As a charity we rely on the generosity of our supporters and fundraisers, like David, to make sure we can continue supporting families while their children are seriously ill in hospital. Any donation that can be made to their fundraising will make the world of difference to the families we will be able to support.
“If you’re feeling inspired by David and the team and want to take part in The Long Ride Home 2024 please get in touch with our fundraising team at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
More information about The Long Ride Home and David’s fundraising can be found on his Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/thelongridehome