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Biking bravehearts smash Compass Points Challenge

980 miles by bike in just ten days? They smashed it!

We’re in awe of the brave bunch who took on the epic challenge of covering England – north to south and east to west – on two wheels in aid of our charity, despite being relatively new to life in the saddle. Achieving all this in just ten days makes it all the more remarkable – that’s up to 11-and-half hours’ cycling a day for each of them!

Though the pandemic put paid to their plans to cycle to Barcelona last year, Dan Turner, Becky Smith, Tony Dinham, Jake Ryan, Max Hembroke and Jordey Logan could not be deterred from getting on their bikes for us and hatched a new plan. And – when the going got really tough – memories of their loved ones cared for by St Luke’s spurred them on, mile after gruelling mile.

As part of their route, which saw them cross the Meridian Line, go over (and under!) rivers and pass stone circles, they made a special stop-off at Turnchapel to meet some of our nurses who were there to cheer them on.

Dan said: “We’d never done anything like this before and there’s no denying the challenge felt brutal at times, but we were spurred on by memories friends and family cared for by St Luke’s, including my mum and my nan. We’re determined to give something back to the charity to say thank-you for such superb care. It’s the least we can do to support such a vital resource for our community.”

Huge thanks to all the cyclists, plus their support team Al Filbey and Chloe Dinham. We’re also really grateful to everyone who’s backed them with donations, taking them to a fantastic total of £7,115 – and counting!

If you’d like to add your donation, please click here.

Learn more about St Luke’s cycle challenges here.

St luke's fundraiser Jill sat in a garden

While for many of us, it’s a piece of equipment that goes unused – simply gathering dust despite our best intentions – a Plymouth grandmother living with Parkinson’s disease has used the power of pedalling her exercise bike to raise much-needed funds for St Luke’s.

When she heard about our Landmark Challenge, Jill Baragwanath, aged 77, wasted no time in signing up to take part in our Covid-safe fundraising event in memory of her beloved husband, Gerald, who was cared for by our team at Turnchapel 13 years ago before, sadly, he died.

For Jill, who lives in Pomphlett, it was not only an opportunity to say another thank-you to St Luke’s for looking after such a special man with the utmost compassion, but a chance to keep up her fitness level while the gym she usually attends remained closed under lockdown restrictions.

Cycling a total of over 20 miles on the exercise bike in her bedroom, Jill – who has two daughters and two grandchildren – raised a fantastic £300 in sponsorship to help keep the wheels of our specialist service turning.

Jill, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s last year, said: “Gerald and I were married for more than 45 years and he was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather – a real family man with a zest for life. He was really sociable and loved snooker and gardening.

“It was very hard when he became ill with cancer, but what made it that bit easier to bear was knowing he was receiving such superb care from St Luke’s. Every time I spent the day with him at Turnchapel, which is so peaceful, I left feeling reassured that he was comfortable and in a safe place because everyone there was so kind and nothing was ever too much trouble.

“I do whatever I can to support the charity because none of us must ever take its service for granted. I’ve taken part in the ladies’ Midnight Walk and I donate items to the shops. The Landmark Challenge was an opportunity to do something different while keeping as fit as possible, which is an important part of managing my condition.

“Memories of Gerald and all the happy times we had together helped me to keep on pedalling, knowing I was doing something positive to help other local families affected by terminal illness.”

From all of us at St Luke’s, a big thank you to Jill and everyone else who took part in our Landmark Challenge – and to all those who kindly sponsored them, too!