A keen cyclist who tackled a 52-mile fundraising ride for St Giles Hospice just hours after pedalling from London to Brighton is calling on people to sign up for Cycle Spring this May.
Staffordshire-born cyclist Steven Babb, aged 49, took part in his first cycle ride for St Giles, Cycle Autumn, last September (2021) to thank the hospice for caring for his father Vic in his final months. He is now inviting riders of all ages and abilities to join him at the spring event on Sunday, 8th May.
Steven loved Cycle Autumn so much last year that he plans to take part in as many future spring and autumn rides as he can, to help fund the hospice’s care of patients, and their families, living with a terminal illness.
“Cycle Autumn was a really enjoyable event with a great atmosphere. It was a beautiful day and it was lovely to be cycling along so many Staffordshire country roads that I’d driven along through the years, but seeing them from a different perspective on a bike and at a slower pace!
“It was certainly a challenge as I’d cycled 60 miles from London to Brighton on Saturday before driving three hours to Burton that evening to start Cycle Autumn the next morning. But I really enjoyed it and I plan to take part in the spring and autumn rides every year from now on if I can.”
Steven’s dad, Vic Babb, from Rolleston-on-Dove, was cared for by St Giles Hospice after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early 2020.
“My dad was a bubbly character – always laughing and joking – and thanks to St Giles he was still able to be that person during his last days. Knowing St Giles was there for him made a real difference and we have to make sure the hospice is there for other families like ours when they need it.”
Vic received pain management support from St Giles nurses which allowed him to stay living at home for longer. When the time came, he was admitted to the Whittington hospice for end-of-life care during the first COVID-19 lockdown at the end of June 2020.
Steven, who now lives in Newbury, Berkshire, and works as Chief Information Security Officer for MUFG Bank, said:
“The care dad received at St Giles was wonderful. The nursing staff really couldn’t do enough for him.
“I just don’t think he could have received better nursing care anywhere else. It was mum and dad’s 52nd wedding anniversary on 15th June while he was in the hospice and the nursing staff arranged for a cake to be made, which was such a lovely touch.
“The care was so personal and the nursing staff helped dad to live out his final days with dignity – something that I will be forever grateful for.”
Steven’s energetic efforts at Cycle Autumn last year raised £2,548 for the hospice, which included £500 of matched funding from MUFG Bank. His return visit to St Giles this May will be part of another epic week of cycling, as he is planning to complete a London to Paris ride just three days before Cycle Spring takes place.
“I’ll be coming to St Giles right after doing another big event, but I’m determined to take part.”
Cycle Spring, on Sunday, 8th May, will begin and end at the Whittington hospice, with start times staggered from 8am. Riders can choose from three different distances – a 27-mile route for all riders aged 10 and over, a 50-mile route, and a 77-mile challenge for keen and experienced riders. The 50-mile and 77-mile routes are open to riders aged 16 and over.
Zoe Wright, Events Manager at St Giles Hospice, said:
“Steven Babb is a superb supporter of St Giles Hospice, and we’re so impressed with his dedication to cycling, and to raising funds for St Giles. We hope his story will inspire many more cyclists of all ages to sign up for the event.
“Whether you’re a regular rider or new to cycling, we’d love you to support us from your saddle at Cycle Spring. With three routes to choose from, each with varying degrees of difficulty, you’ll find a ride to suit you or the whole family.
“Your entry fee covers the administration cost of the event, so we’re always really grateful when people are able to raise sponsorship too. A donation of £40 could pay for an hour of our advice and referrals team, £202 could pay for visits to a patient in their own home by our community nurses, and £676 could pay for 24 hours of hospice care for a patient at the end of their life.”
Entry to Cycle Spring is £35, with tickets available until midday on Thursday, 5th May.
For further information, please visit: www.stgileshospice.com/cyclespring, email email@example.com or call the fundraising office on 01543 432538.