The challenge will see the team of 11 set off from the fire station in Mansfield on Saturday, May 14, before cycling the 90-mile route across Derbyshire’s Peak District towards St Catherine’s Hospice, in Bamber Bridge, Preston, which gave former Royal Artillery Staff Sergeant Dave Topping palliative care before his death from cancer in September 2021, aged 61.
The challenge has been organised by Dave’s brother Mick Topping, 59, a former watch manager at Mansfield fire station who also served in the Royal Artillery with his brother.
Mick, who has lived in Mansfield for more than 35 years, had the idea following Dave’s funeral in September last year.
He said: “The care my brother received whilst in the hospice was tremendous, nothing was too much trouble, and the staff were so attentive.
“Not only that, the emotional support and advice Dave’s wife Cath and our family received helped so much at such a difficult time
“I thought I should do something in memory of Dave and aimed to raise some funds for the hospice, which needs £5 million each year to support people like Dave, and thought that I would ride from my home in Mansfield to Preston.
“I mentioned it at his funeral to some of the Army lads, and it snowballed from there. Dave spent 24 years in the Army and there was a fair few soldiers came to pay their respects, then I mentioned it to some of the firefighters I ride with in Mansfield and I soon had 11 riders.”
Dave, a father of two and grandfather of four, lived in Leyland, Lancashire, with his wife Cath until his death from cancer in September 2021.
The challenge is expected to take about eight hours to complete, with a couple of food stops and more than 4,500 feet of hills to climb.
A group JustGiving page was set up in order for people to donate and spur the riders on, with almost £2,500 raised so far.
To make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/dave-topping-charityride.