Cyclists get in the saddle for cancer charity

And they're off! (right) first to sign up Julie Applin (46) from Clanfield, leading the Ruby Ride.  Picture: Sarah Standing (123189-8018)
And they're off! (right) first to sign up Julie Applin (46) from Clanfield, leading the Ruby Ride. Picture: Sarah Standing (123189-8018)
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HUNDREDS of keen cyclists braved the cold to take part in the Ruby Ride, in aid of The Rowans Hospice.

Families and friends took part in the event, in a bid to raise cash for the hospice which offers respite and care to people with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.

Cyclists could choose from four routes, all starting from North Harbour Lakeside, ranging from 3.5 miles to 60 miles.

Among the 500 participants were sisters Alison Davison and Karen Berry who took part in the ride in honour of their mum, Celia Berry.

Celia, 66, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in January and is using the services at the hospice to aid her recover.

Alison, 32, of Edgefield Grove, Waterlooville, said: ‘We’ve been really lucky because we haven’t had any cancer in the family before, so this came as a big shock.

‘It’s something you think happens to other people and you never think it will happen to you, so it’s awful, especially because it’s our mum.’

Karen, 39, of The Blatchen, Littlehampton, added: ‘Mum’s used a lot of the services at The Rowans Hospice and they have been incredible.

‘We wanted to do our bit to say thank you for everything the hospice has done for her.’

The charity hopes to raise £50,000 from the event, which will go towards running its hospice and services including nursing care, day care, diagnosis services and bereavement services.

Also taking part were friends Sally Spencer, 58, and Becki Dover, 45.

Sally, of Regents Court, Havant, signed up for the ride in memory of her father-in-law, Ron Paffey, who died from cancer last year.

She said: ‘The hospice helped Ron a great deal when he was ill, and it still helps his partner Nella.

‘I wanted to give something back and help support it, because the work it does is so important and it relies on donations to keep going.

‘Sometimes people can get a bit wrapped up in their own problems and get a bit selfish, this is a way of doing something for someone else and knowing you’re making a difference.’

The hospice receives just 17 per cent of the cost of running its services from the government.

It relies on fundraising for the rest of the money and has to raise £4m each year just to stay afloat.

Amanda Mahoney, from the hospice, said: ‘Every year we look at new ways of fundrising so that we can keep people interested and raise as much money as possible.

‘This is the first time we have done this event, and it has been amazing. We’re so impressed with how many people turned up to support us.’