Spring was in the air for Cycle Challenge on Bank Holiday Sunday
More than 1,000 cyclists enjoyed a beautiful Spring Bank Holiday Sunday exploring the stunning Kent countryside at the 13th annual Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge.
Riders of all abilities took part, collectively cycling more than 76,000 miles to support the skilled and compassionate end-of-life care the charity provides across east Kent.
So far this year’s event has raised almost £100,000; with indications showing the total could reach as much as £110,000 for Pilgrims, once all donations and Gift Aid are finalised.
Individuals, families, friends, cycling clubs, local businesses and services throughout Kent, took on the 30, 50, 75, 100 or 125-mile challenge. Bright skies and dry roads were the perfect conditions for Pilgrims’ flagship fundraising event. Ever since the event first took place in 2010, supporters have raised an astonishing £1.2 million pounds to help people who need Pilgrims’ care within our community.
All routes started and finished at Pilgrims Event Village at the University of Kent, near Canterbury. Returning cyclists could enjoy a celebratory atmosphere, sports massage and well-earned refreshments after collecting their commemorative medal.
Robert Grew, Pilgrims event organiser said: “It was brilliant to see such a strong show of support for Pilgrims! We congratulate all the riders in achieving their goals and for their incredible support for the end-of-life care Pilgrims provides.
“It’s a privilege to organise the event and, seeing it year after year, I’m always reminded how much of a team effort it is. Our army of volunteers are just outstanding and gave up their bank holiday weekend to help make the whole experience safe and enjoyable for our riders. I can’t thank them enough! Nor the waves of cyclists who puff their way around the course in support each year.”
“I must also thank Kent Sport, Biketart, Barretts and London Array for their wonderful support for the event, which enables us to maximise the amount of funds we can raise for hospice care.”
Care is provided from three hospice sites in Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet as well as in patients’ own homes.To offer these services to patients and their families, the charity must raise £11 million each year from the generous local community.
23rd March 2023
Green family go the distance for Pilgrims Hospices
When Rosy Green from Bridge near Canterbury was diagnosed with lung cancer in October 2021, Pilgrims Hospices helped her family to make the most of their time together.
Initially cared for at the Ashford hospice, she then returned home before passing away aged 68 at the Canterbury hospice on 27 January 2022, with her family by her side.
Rosy was a dedicated and long-standing volunteer within the local community, supporting several causes, including Pilgrims, over many decades.
On Sunday 1 May 2022, Rosy’s family and friends – Team Rosy – took on thePilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge, riding 50 miles and raising more than £8,000 for local hospice care in her memory.
A much-loved wife, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother and friend
Rosy was married to her husband, Michael, for 44 years, and together they had three children: Jamie, Hannah and Georgina. She was also a much-loved sister, aunt and grandmother. Amongst family and friends and within her local community, she was known for her warm hospitality, great food and organisational skills.
Hannah said: “Mum played such a large role in our lives and we are thankful for so many things. Her friends adored her, too. These are the parts of her life that she most valued and focused all her time and energy on.
“Her dedication to her family was immense; we were always loved and supported. From wonderful school projects, creative birthday parties, summer holiday beach time, numerous clubs and sports teams, she gave us the best start to life.
“Mum had the skill to recognise and reach out to those who needed it; her lifetime of voluntary work depicts the person she was. She cared dearly about the refugee cause and gathered clothing donations, but she truly believed that charity starts on your own doorstep. If we contribute to our local community where we can, we all thrive and build a strong, caring and established community. She will be sorely missed by all.”
“Mum received incredible care”
Rosy’s diagnosis was sudden, and she was initially given just 24-hours to live – but with the right medication, her condition stabilised and she was referred to the Ashford hospice, before returning home where she was cared for by family with Pilgrims’ support.
Georgina reflected: “Mum received incredible care during her stay at the hospice. The positive energy, enthusiasm, genuine kindness and compassion were huge factors in making her well enough to go home. Mum always (and until the end) had a great sense of humour and quick wit, and staff were happy to have a joke with her. She adored them all and was acutely gratefully for her care – she really understood the process and appreciated the kindness.
“Mum had a sweet tooth, so on occasion she would have two puddings instead of a savoury meal; what a nice thing to enjoy whilst you still have an appetite.”
With a combination of physiotherapy, occupational therapy and support from the wider hospice teams, as well as her own determination to get home, Rosy became fit enough to get around with a walking frame. When she returned home, Pilgrims arranged for a suitable bed and equipment to be installed. She was able to enjoy many visitors and home comforts.
Pilgrims were such good listeners when we explained our concerns about medication, Mum’s discomfort, her wishes… whatever it was, they worked with us to achieve what was best for her. Both staff and volunteers were sincere, thoughtful and caring every step of the way.
Pilgrims continued to support Rosy and her family with home visits, and they could contact hospice teams 24/7 to access specialist advice whenever they needed it. When Rosy’s condition deteriorated, the family decided that re-admission would be best, and she was transferred to the Canterbury hospice.
Georgina added: “Pilgrims were such good listeners when we explained our concerns about medication, Mum’s discomfort, her wishes… whatever it was, they worked with us to achieve what was best for her. Both staff and volunteers were sincere, thoughtful and caring every step of the way.”
Team Rosy’s fantastic fundraising
On Sunday 1 May 2022, a group of Rosy’s family and friends completed the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge, raising £8,181 for local hospice care.
Georgina said: “We didn’t do any special training apart from keeping on top of our general fitness. It was definitely a challenge on the day, but the countryside was beautiful and it was amazing to ride as part of a team. The t-shirts we had printed were great, too. We really felt that we were giving back and knew Mum would be proud of us, which gave us a such a strong focus whilst fundraising.
“Crossing the finish line and receiving our medals was a huge relief. Our legs were burning cycling up St. Stephen’s Hill – luckily, Dad had some battery left in his e-bike and took a lot of pleasure in finishing first within our team! I was just so happy we completed our ride without injury or mechanical malfunctions.
“Mum had always been a huge supporter of Pilgrims Hospices in her fundraising and volunteering. It’s an extremely important local charity to all of our family and friends; many of us have received their support and we believe everyone should be able to access this amazing care when the time comes.”
Pilgrims Hospices cares for thousands of local people each year, free of charge, during the most challenging time in their lives. They offer care and support in people’s own homes, in the community and in their inpatient units as well as running a 24-hour advice line.
22nd February 2023
Pro cyclist Ian Field shares top tips for Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge
After a successful career as a professional cyclist, being 5x British CycloCross Champion and 6x British Series Winner, Ian Field set up ‘Veld Coaching by Ian Field’ to bring together 15 years of racing knowledge and experience in the hope of helping other riders to achieve their goals, too.
After witnessing the exceptional care that his partner’s family members received from Pilgrims Hospices when under their care, Ian wanted to use his cycling expertise to support those taking on the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge on Sunday 30 April 2023.
We sat down to chat with Ian to find out more about his love for cycling in Kent, and his top tips for those training for Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge:
How did you get into cycling?
“I got into cycling through a friend at school. We went to The Norton Knatchbull School in Ashford, and we started a Cyclocross team together. I really enjoyed riding my bike already, so the idea of being able to race as a career really appealed to me.”
What do you enjoy most about cycling in Kent?
“I have lived in a few different countries, and all over the UK, but I always find myself back in Kent and I love riding my bike here. You have the flat of the Kent weald, the hills of the North Downs and the beautiful coastal routes to choose from. There is a maze of lanes off of the main roads to get lost in, there is something for every kind of cyclist. Every route is picturesque in its own way.”
Why should someone take part in the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge?
“The Cycle Challenge is a great day out, no matter what route you choose to do! It is a really scenic route and once out of Canterbury, you soon join quiet lanes. Be prepared for some climbing, but for every metre climbed there is a descent to enjoy. The regular food stops keep you going, as well as plenty of encouragement from other riders out on the road.”
What is your advice for anyone taking part in the Cycle Challenge?
My top tips for those taking part in Cycle Challenge would be:
Preparation is key, make sure you’re fuelling your body correctly during training and on the day of the event.
Don’t try anything different on the day, use your training effectively.
During your training, find the most comfortable clothing so that you know you’ll be comfortable in on day, whether you’re doing the 30 or 125-mile route.
Train in all weather conditions so that nothing comes as a surprise on the day.
Try different paces in your training and work out the pace that works best for you, that you can keep up throughout your ride.
Most importantly, don’t forget why you’re riding, and enjoy yourself!
What is your advice on nutrition and fuelling yourself to complete the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge?
“The key to nutrition and fuelling on the bike is to eat and drink little and often. Keeping things simple in regards to food and drink will also help the body to digest easier. Ideally, you want to start eating and drinking in the first 30 minutes of the ride and continue throughout.”
What clothing advice would you give to someone taking on the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge?
“I’d recommend that cyclists ride in something that they’ve ridden in before, and that they find comfortable for the correct temperature of the day. If you have some, padded shorts are ideal for a challenge such as this, as they’ll make the ride that bit more comfortable.”
What would you advise someone to carry with them on the day?
If I were taking part in Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge on Sunday 30 April, I would carry with me:
At least one water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the ride.
My favourite cycling snacks.
A spare tube, which is the correct size for the bike I’m riding that day.
A hand pump with tyre levers, just in case of a puncture.
Ian said: “Being in the cycling world for many years, I have seen the number of people who have taken up cycling off the back of the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge. I am really keen to support this event as it brings the cycling community together, while raising vital funds for end-of-life care in east Kent.”
If you’re looking for a helping hand with your training for the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge on Sunday 30 April, Ian has kindly put together a training plan to guide you to reaching the finish line!
To find out how you can join the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge on Sunday 30 April 2023, please visit: pilgrimscyclechallenge.org
Each year, Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to over 2,500 people in east Kent who are coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured. The charity support patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress.
4th April 2022
The award-winning Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge is back on Sunday 1 May 2022
Get on your bike to explore the beautiful and varied countryside of east Kent alongside friends, family and cyclists of all abilities. Whether you’re a new orseasoned cyclist, the sense of achievement will be the same – going the extra mile and knowing you’ve made a difference for Pilgrims Hospices and the people we care for. With over £1 million raised since 2010, the Cycle Challenge is a firm favourite and we look forward to you riding with us this year!
Eight colleagues from Faversham-based design company, Ideaworks, will be testing their pedal power by taking on the challenge to raise funds for local hospice care. Doug Wood, Design Director, told us, “Pilgrims is a well-respected and much-loved local charity; we are very proud to fundraise on their behalf. My wife’s nan and also a best friend have both received care at the Canterbury hospice; I know from this personal experience how important the charity is to our local community.
“We are raising money to help the charity to continue providing end-of-life care for all those who need help in east Kent. We opened a team JustGivingpage and have received almost £750 of sponsorship to date, so a huge thank you to everyone who has kindly donated to support our team’s efforts on behalf of Pilgrims Hospices.
“Our team is made up from colleagues working across the county. We’re working remotely, therefore we’ve been training in our own locations but looking forward to some team rides in the run up to the event. Some of us are more polished cyclists than others, with some more occasional riders, although we are all very committed to completing either the 100 or 125 miles on the day.”
Pilgrims is a well-respected and much-loved local charity; we are very proud to fundraise on their behalf
Doug Wood – Ideaworks
Doug explained: “We have ridden in a Brands Hatch Cyclothon in the past, and we’re ready to go, kitted out with our Team Ideaworks cycle jerseys, please look out for us!”
If you would like to support the Ideaworks team with their fundraising for Pilgrims Hospices, you can donate here.
Robert Grew, Events Manager at Pilgrims Hospices said: “It’s fantastic to see teams of friends, family and colleagues such as Ideaworks jumping on their bikes to take on the Cycle Challenge in support of hospice care. Their support is so important to the care we’re able to provide our patients. The Cycle Challenge is well-loved by our community and we’re delighted that over 50% of event places have been filled already!”
If you’d like to be one of 1,000 cyclists taking part in Kent’s biggest charity bike ride, you can register here.
Ride it your way by choosing one of five ride distances and routes, 30 – 50 – 75 – 100 or 125 miles with all routes starting from, and finish at, the Pilgrims event village at theUniversity of Kentnear Canterbury.
Each year, Pilgrims Hospices provide care and comfort to thousands of people in east Kent who are coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured. The charity support patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress.
14th March 2022
Natasha’s Cycle Challenge for Pilgrims Hospices in memory of mum, Karen
Natasha Parker from Sittingbourne was just 17-years-old when her mum, Karen Parker from Chartham, was referred to Pilgrims Hospice Canterbury for specialist end-of-life care.
To give back and say thank you for the support Karen and her family received, Natasha has so far raised more than £1,300 for Pilgrims Hospices through taking on challenges and via Facebook birthday fundraisers. Next up, she and her fiancee, Stefan Montandon, will ride the 50-mile route at Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challengeon Sunday 1 May 2022.
Natasha remembers how Pilgrims lovingly cared for her family when Karen was approaching the end of her life. She said: “My mum was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in 2011. She came to the Canterbury hospice the following year, and passed away there on 10 October 2012.
“She wasn’t in the hospice for very long, but the care she and our family received whilst there was second to none. Everyone was so kind and lovely through the most difficult time of my life. I was only 17 at the time; to have people around who cared so much made a huge difference.”
Inspired by her experience of Pilgrims, Natasha has chosen to support the local charity ever since so that others can continue to benefit from its vital, compassionate care.
She added: “I completed two Shock Absorber triathlons in 2015 and 2018 at Dorney Lake, Eton. I also completed the Pilgrims Way Challenge from Canterbury to Dover in 2020 and 2021; I definitely recommend this! This year, I’m doing the 50-milePilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge on Sunday 1 May.
“I’ve also done some general fundraising using the Facebook birthday donations function. I will continue to raise money for Pilgrims in the future by taking part in more events.”
Natasha is supported in her fundraising by family and friends, particularly Stefan, who takes part in events with her.
She said: “Pilgrims is a cause very close to my heart; they offer somewhere to go when there is really nowhere else. They do such an amazing job of looking after people in their last days, and their families, too.
“Through fundraising, I hope to help ensure that Pilgrims can continue to make the worst moments of people’s lives that little bit more bearable, like they did for me.”
Each year, Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to thousands of people in east Kent who are coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured. The charity support patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress.
21st October 2021
Paul and Alfie go the distance for local hospice care
On Sunday 22 August 2021, Paul Maxted and his son, Alfie, from Ashford cycled 50 miles around east Kent, raising more than £700 for local hospice care.
They wanted to support Pilgrims Hospices after the charity cared for two family members – Paul’s dad, Robert (Bob) John Maxted, and his father-in-law, Roger (Rog) Thomas Bent.
It has been an emotionally challenging year for the family; Bob passed away aged 69 years on 27 June 2021, and Rog died shortly after, aged 74, on 18 July 2021.
Paul said: “Following long battles with terminal illnesses, we lost my father to cancer and Rog to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) within three weeks of each other; it was devastating, to say the least. The most painful part was watching them both succumb to these terrible illnesses as my wife and I provided care and support. We were lucky to have two such wonderful, loving and inspirational role models in our lives, and we gain some comfort in knowing we carry them in our hearts and thoughts for eternity.
“Pilgrims cared for my dad and Rog both on the hospice ward and at home at the end of their lives. They were superb, providing equipment, personal care and support to them and our family. The staff showed real empathy and understanding; they were never too busy to take a call or give us time to understand what was happening, all the way until the end.”
To give back and say thank you, Paul and his son Alfie decided to take on the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge to ensure that other families continue to benefit from local hospice care.
Paul added: “I’m a keen footballer and runner but cycling isn’t my choice of activity! So this was a real challenge for me (and my rear end). I’m so grateful for the support we’ve received from family and friends; any donation, no matter how big or small, is hugely appreciated.
“Pilgrims made a very sad time easier for both my dad and Rog during their battles, giving us as a family a small piece of comfort knowing that they did not suffer. We want to support Pilgrims so that more people can receive the level of empathy and care we did, both now and in the future.”
You can still sponsor Paul and Alfie now that they have completed their challenge by visiting their JustGiving page.
Inspired to get on your bike and fundraise for Pilgrims?
Cycle Challenge returns on Sunday 1 May 2022; register your interest today:
Each year Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to over 2,500 people in east Kent who are coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured. The charity support patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress.