St Albans siblings take on John O’Groats to Land’s End cycle challenge in memory of dad
- Credit: Archant
Siblings from St Albans are set to take on the challenge of cycling from John O’Groats to Land’s End in memory of their dad, BBC Radio 4 newsreader Rory Morrison, who lost his battle with cancer in 2013.
Honor, aged 22, and her 19-year-old brother Reuben will be joined by 11 other cyclists – who are supporting three causes in their dad’s memory.
The pair will ride the 1,000 miles with their mum Nikki in the support crew.
Rory was a familiar and much-loved ‘voice of the nation’, able to deliver often bad news with gentle authority. He was perhaps best known for managing to pick-up and carry on when his colleague on the Today programme, Jim Naughty, collapsed laughing after spoonerising the then culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt’s name into an obscenity.
Rory died in 2013 following a stem cell transplant at UCLH. His wife Nikki, also a BBC journalist, said: “Rory used to joke it was ironic that, as an announcer, he’d been cursed with a disease that was impossible to say: Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinaemia, or WM for short. Sadly it was also impossible to cure, he was 48 when he died and the children just 15 and 12 years old.”
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Honor and Reuben will be joined on the ride by other family members – notably, Charlie Baigler who is riding in memory of his wife Alex. She was Nikki’s cousin and recently died of a glioblastoma brain tumour, leaving Charlie to raise their two young children, Molly, 10 and six-year-old George.
This epic attempt starts on Monday next week has been named “Ride 4 Alex and Rory” #R4AR2020. Thirteen riders in total will take 12 days to complete the route, with Charlie aiming to do it in just half that time.
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Honor said: “We know what its like to lose a parent and sadly Molly and George now know too. We know we’re not the only ones, bereavement can be so isolating and disorientating, so to have the opportunity to help raise money to ultimately find cures for these rare cancers, and stop other families experiencing what we have, was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up – even it was only presented to me in lockdown!”
They will be raising money for The Rory Morrison WMUK Registry, Headcase and The Brain Tumour Charity.
Nikki said that COVID-19 restrictions have made the organisation particularly challenging, especially in the Highlands where many places the group could have stayed or re-fuelled remain closed.
At one point it wasn’t clear if the whole thing would have to be cancelled – but they took advantage of socially-distanced rides to train as much as possible. At least three of their riders only got on a bike for the first time in lockdown.
By the time the Alex and Rory riders pedal into Land’s End they will have covered 1,000 miles and climbed over 60,000 feet – twice the height of Everest!
Nikki added: “We would like to thank our sponsors who have also pulled out the stops to support us at a difficult time for many businesses – Rugby Radios, St Albans, Me and Mrs Jones Deli, Torquay, Squarefoot Media, Edinburgh and International SOS, London.
For donations, go to bit.ly/R4AR2020Donate. You can also follow the team on Facebook and Twitter by searching “R4AR JOGLE 2020 - John O’Groats to Land’s End”.
You can also see the team’s progress on Strava atstrava.com/clubs/560659.