Two cousins are taking on an epic 315-mile cycling challenge this week (19 – 23 July) to raise funds for a county hospice.
Natalie Leworthy and Hannah Edwards have been training hard for the mammoth ride from London to Paris and have already raised more than £1,800 for Worcester-based St Richard’s Hospice.
The hospice team cared for Natalie’s dad and Hannah’s uncle, Mick Leworthy, before he died in 2021.
Natalie, 33, is inspired by her dad who was a keen cyclist and who had cycled the Etape du Tour on many occasions.
She said: “The challenge just seemed like a perfect way to pay tribute to my dad. I’m quite nervous about the challenge, as it’s such a long distance to cycle.
“I’ve been training five days a week since January and going out in all sorts of weather – wind, rain, cold and intense heat but I’m using my late dad’s positive attitude as my motivation to keep going.
“Dad had prostate cancer and spent the last few days of his life being cared for in the In-patient Unit at St Richard’s.
“Although there were a lot of Covid restrictions at this time, we still received the best level of care from everyone at the hospice.
“All staff were so kind, and we were so grateful that we could be with dad during his last moments. When he died, it was just me and my brother there, holding each hand and it was really calm and peaceful.
“I could simply be with him whilst the staff took care of the other tasks that I had been doing, such as helping with personal care, medication and symptom-management. I was able to be just his daughter again, and not his carer too, which was very special.
“The care came at just the right time for my dad and us as a family. It’s an honour to fundraise for the hospice and I will continue to do so.”
Natalie was a local authority social worker at the time, and her experience of hospice care inspired her interest in the sector. She now works as a palliative care social worker for a hospice in York.
Natalie’s cousin Hannah, 28, said this is the longest distance the pair have ever cycled but she’s excited about the challenge and raising funds for St Richard’s.
“It’s amazing to see how much people have got behind us to support a great cause and we have exceeded our goal which is fantastic!
“It’s also great to be able to give back to St Richard’s after the care they provided so they can continue to do so for other people and their friends and family.”
To donate to their fundraising visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/NatandHannahcycletoParis
Jodi Brandwood, fundraiser at St Richard’s, said: “We are thrilled to have Natalie and Hannah on board with this challenge and we wish them all the best.
“The London to Paris ride is a tough, but incredible experience and to raise money for our care at the same time is just fantastic. We are so grateful for their support!”
The pair will also have the chance to watch the finale of the Tour de France as some of the world’s greatest cyclists cross the finish line in Paris on 23 July.