Intrepid officers boost Sutton hospice care by £5,400 with epic Scottish Highlands bike ride

Eight Nottinghamshire police officers notched their fundraising up a gear when they raised £5,400 for a Sutton hospice with a gruelling bike ride around the Scottish Highlands.

Sunday, 25th July 2021, 10:47 am
Updated Sunday, 25th July 2021, 10:53 am

The intrepid team smashed a £5,000 target by completing the 530-mile ride around the north coast of Scotland in just five days.

Every year Nottinghamshire Police’s Chief Constable Craig Guildford chooses a new charity for the force to support, this year it was the turn of theJohn Eastwood Hospice which provides care for the terminally ill.

One of its riders, Detective Sergeant Dave Prest, lost his father-in-law Dylan Howells to cancer just before Christmas following a five-year battle with the disease.

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Pictured are the riders: Matt Scott, Matt Fagan, Gav Peace, Chris Grundy, Col Jones, Dave Prest, Matt Dumbrell, and John Wilson.

Mr Howells, 71, spent the last three weeks of his life receiving palliative care at the John Eastwood Hospice.

"He had been fighting it for years and had lots of operations but eventually it got too much for him to fight," said Det Sgt Prest.

"He had lived alone and my wife Ceri did everything to help him as well as a close family friend, but there's only so much you can do - and the hospice was so professional and just got everything spot on.

"The fact we were doing the ride for the hospice inspired us."

The challenge had originally been planned to take place last year but was postponed due to Covid restrictions.

They were originally planning to split the fundraising with half going to the previous Chief's charity and the other half to the John Eastwood Hospice. However, the hospice was chosen as this year's Chief's charity, so was able to receive all the funds.

The riders travelled over 100 miles a day through the most remote terrain in the UK and climbing around 30,000 feet at the end of June.

The group cleared its initial target of £5,000, raising more than £5,400, with money continuing to pour in.

The money will help support the running of the hospice, and will fund privacy screens.

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The team completed the route, known as the NC500, starting in Inverness and following a clockwise path calling in at Applecross, Ullapool, Durness, John O'Groats and the UK's longest climb - the Beanach na Ba.

Detective Sergeant Matt Scott, who organised the event, said: "This ride was tougher than expected, with strong winds and heavy rain adding to the challenge.

“Looking back now, these factors only make the achievement greater, with some breath-taking scenery and plenty of stops to admire the view.

Chief Constable Guildford added: “This is a great effort by all eight officers and I know it will be hugely appreciated by the hospice and this money will make a real difference for patients, which is ultimately what we all want.

“I want to personally thank all the team for their efforts and those made by all my staff over the years supporting the Chief’s charity.

Tracey Joyce, deputy trust manager at John Eastwood Hospice, said: "We are overwhelmed and delighted by this incredible gesture from Nottinghamshire Police.

"This was an amazing cycling challenge and we are so grateful to the riders and everyone who has supported them. The fundraising will go towards providing privacy screens for patients in the hospice. Thank you so much."

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