26th June 2016

Paddle, Plod, Pedal and an engagement!

Intrepid teams of Worcestershire colleagues and friends pulled out all the stops in the St Richard’s Hospice Paddle, Plod and Pedal Challenge last weekend and so far have raised over £17,000 towards hospice care.

The day was made even more special when challengers Gemma Barker and Tom Clement from Worcester announced their engagement– a double celebration as it was also Gemma’s 30th birthday.

More than 120 people took part in the fun endurance challenge that saw them follow a 35 mile circular route through the beautiful Worcestershire and Gloucestershire countryside. The teams paddled in bell boats along the River Avon from Pershore to Tewkesbury before walking from Tewkesbury to Kempsey. The teams then took to the saddle to pedal the remainder of the route back to Pershore, where they were rewarded with a well-earned medal,  refreshments and a great sense of achievement.

Jayne Sargeant, Community Fundraiser at St Richard’s Hospice, said; “The Paddle, Plod and Pedal is no easy feat but it’s a great team builder. For a few participants, this was the first time they had ever taken part in anything like this and to finish with beaming smiles was fantastic to see!  To discover we had an engagement on the day was the icing on the cake!”

She added, “The weather was kind to start with but when rain set in later it didn’t deter the teams from giving it their all. We are very grateful to everyone for taking part and raising an amazing amount to help the hospice continue to offer compassionate care to those at the end of their lives.”

Teams who took part on the day were: Where’s the Finish, Bear with10 coming in; Are we nearly there yet?; St Andrew’s Army; Insured Victory –Open GI; Rivers Monsters; Team Sky Warriors and Team Insanity from Worcester Royal Hospital; Blister Sisters, Aspire to Finish, Mad Hatters and Lloyds Bank Donut Dodgers.

Mrs Sargeant also thanked all the volunteers who helped the day run smoothly.

Tom Clement, a Primary School teacher at Rushwick Primary proposed to fiancé Gemma, a PA at Worcester Royal Hospital just before the challenge started with a beautiful white gold ring which fits perfectly.  Gemma said she was still in shock when she arrived to start rowing with the team 15 minutes later.

The couple, who have been together for two years plan to marry in 2018.

Gemma said, “I didn’t expect the proposal: it was my birthday and the day of the Paddle, Plod and Pedal so I was a little pre-occupied with turning 30 and getting myself mentally prepared for the challenges of the day. It was lovely to share the news with everyone while it was hot off the press!

St Richard’s Hospice provides free specialist palliative care for patients living with life-limiting illnesses and supports their families. Each year the hospice team supports over 2,600 patients and family members in Worcestershire with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.

Patients are cared for in Day Hospice, the 17-bed In-patient Unit or in their own homes by a specialist professional team as well as many trained volunteers.

In the In-patient Unit, specialist staff are on hand 24 hours a day to manage patients’ symptoms and where, if appropriate, patients may spend the last few days of life in comfort and dignity. St Richard’s is an independent charity and is grateful for all donations to help it to continue its work.