St Albans fundraiser overcomes broken bikes to complete charity cycle ride across UK
- Credit: Archant
A charity fundraiser has vowed to pay the salary of one of Rennie Grove Hospice’s nursing team for a whole year.
Bevan Clark wanted to do something to help after seeing Covid decimating the income of the hospice, which supports and cares for people with life-limiting illnesses.
Rennie Grove, which depends mainly on the public’s generosity to meet its budget, saw all of its charity shops closed for months and numerous fund-raising events had to be cancelled, including a challenge to cycle to the Isle of Man and ride the notorious TT race circuit.
But the pandemic didn’t deter Bevan, who embarked on a solo cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise much needed funds.
Riding over 100 miles every day and sleeping each night in a motor home Bevan overcame numerous problems including extreme weather, hostile bees, and several mechanical issues; including a total gear failure that required a bike swap.
Despite only taking up cycling in May and riding an old hybrid bike for the last 200 miles of his route Bevan completed his epic journey in just nine days, raising much needed funding for Rennie Grove in memory of his best friend, Steve Russell, who passed away exactly a year ago.
Bevan’s reward for months of training, during which he lost two stones, and a fortnight on the road away from his home and family, is that “Bev’s Big Charity Bike Ride” stands close to having raised £25,000.
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He said: “I knew the first day was going to be tough, being the first anniversary of Steve’s passing, but it was far more difficult that I had predicted.
“On top of all the emotion, I hadn’t forseen some substantial problems on the first day - forgetting my cycling shoes and problems with gears on my bike. It was not an ideal start.
“I underestimated how important my support crew, following me in a campervan, were to become. From sourcing camp sites, to providing breakfast, lunch and dinner and above all being my cheer leaders. I could not have achieved it without them.
“Back at home, the funds and messages of support came flooding in. Every new donation sent an update to my phone and these updates kept me pedalling to the very end.
“My supporters seemed to enjoy seeing my Facebook posts, particularly my live videos and I seem to have created my own catchphrase, “Rennie Grove Baby!”
“Despite two broken bikes, I completed the challenge a day quicker than planned and managed to exceeded the fundraising target of £25,000.”
Bevan is now eager to reach £30,000 before the fundraiser closes in order to pay the salary of one of Rennie Grove’s nursing team for a whole year. Donations can still be made at http://bevsbigcharityride.com
On the second day of his ride, Bevan was kept company by several members of Team Forge whose latest challenge is a sequel to their 2015 Isle of Wight event in support of Rennie Grove.
Team member David Fryer explained: “In 2015 a group of people calling themselves Team Forge cycled from St Albans to the Isle of Wight, around it and back via Swindon. Were it not for Covid we would have returned to the Isle of Man to celebrate the fifth anniversary of that first island challenge and to raise more, much needed funds for Rennie Grove.
“As luck would have it, Covid meant the plans have been put back a year to September 2021. We hope to have a 40 people cycling to the Isle of Man and around the TT circuit this time next year and to raise £100,000 for Rennie Grove.”
Businesses interested in sponsoring Team Forge when they set off to the Isle of Man next year can find out more about the event by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Team Forge is an informal group of local people who join together, usually on bikes, to raise funds for Rennie Grove and you’ll be able to follow their progress and see some of their stories in the Herts Ad over the coming year.