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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!

Cyclists of all ages are getting set for one of Devon’s boldest and most popular charity challenges this autumn, the Tour de Moor.

The annual event – now in its tenth year – takes place on Sunday 13 October, raising funds to help us continue our specialist end of life care for terminally ill people, helping them to live well to the end.

Sponsored by Print Copy Scan, a local supplier of printers and copiers, the challenge in the rugged wilds of Dartmoor offers cyclists the opportunity of an adrenalin-packed adventure: the hill-filled 52km mixed terrain route of mud, sweat and gears. Cycling at its fiercest for those aged 12 and above!

Alternatively, participants aged 9 and above can take it down a gear and saddle up for 23km of tough riding over hills and through woods, and there’s also the ‘mini moor’, a gentle 11km ride along the tarmac paths of Drake’s Trail that’s suitable for all the family.

As well as Tour de Moor providing for every level of cycling ability, the money it raises means our highly skilled team can give not just expert medical care but also emotional, practical and spiritual support to families at the most vulnerable of times, whether their loved one is being cared for at home, in hospital or at our specialist unit at Turnchapel.

Head of Fundraising, Penny Hannah, said: “Tour de Moor is always a terrific day. It’s fitness and muddy fun, and with three routes to choose from, it’s ideal for both families as well as more experienced cyclists who really want to push themselves.

“Taking on the challenge is a great opportunity to get on your bike and help us provide vital care and support to patients and their families across the local area, making every hill climb worth that extra effort!”

Director of Print Copy Scan, Karl Welburn, said, “The calibre of the care St Luke’s provides is second to none, but we mustn’t take it for granted because none of us know when we might need it. As the only specialist end of life care provider in this area, the charity needs continued support and that’s why we’re proud to sponsor Tour de Moor again this year. All the money raised by people participating goes directly to patient care.”

The Tour de Moor challenge departs from 8.30am at Harrowbeer Airfield, near Yelverton, and finishes there.

Sign up for the challenge at www.stlukes-hospice.org.uk/tourdemoor or by calling us on 01752 492626. Registration costs £30 for the 52km or 23km route, and £15 for the 11km route.