Fern & friends take on the Chilterns challenge
TELEVISION presenter Fern Britton joined 500 cyclists of all ages and abilities in Rennie Grove Hospice Care’s sixth annual Chilterns Cycle Challenge on Sunday.
A keen cyclist and longterm supporter of Rennie Grove, she undertook the 35-mile challenge, tackling the hills of the Chilterns countryside, to support the nursing services the charity provides for patients in Bucks and Herts with cancer and other lifelimiting illnesses.
Participants could opt for a 10km, 35 mile or 75 mile route.
Fern has taken part three times previously.
She said: “I love the spirit of the participants and I love the countryside. The Chilterns are just beautiful.
“I’ve ridden the 10k route previously as well and that’s fantastic too – perfect for kids as it’s all on cycle paths. Together we’re raising a great amount of money for the Rennie Grove nurses to care for patients in their own homes.”
First back from the 35 mile route were Stephen Poulton and Justin Dent from Bucks. The friends were cycling and raising funds for a mutual friend, diagnosed with a brain tumour last year.
Mr Dent said: “We were so glad to take part and raise money for a worthy cause.”
Brothers Kevin and Dave Patrick also took on the 35 mile route.
Beaconsfi el d - b a s e d Dave’s entry fee was a Valentine’s gift from his wife and in return he bought her a halfmarathon place.
At the start line, Kevin was hoping his cycle commute from Aston Clinton to Chesham would stand him in good stead for his first-ever 35-miler.
Six family members and friends came all the way from Bristol to take part to support Rennie Grove after the charity cared for Karen Harborne, from Chesham, last year.
Karen’s brother, Kevin Grainger, and his wife Carole were joined by Natalie Grainger, Ben Jones and John and Margery Carr, with the men taking on the 75 mile route and the ladies the 35 mile option.
Carole said: “What an amazing day, we’ve had such a great time. We are all absolutely shattered but it’s for Karen today. We wanted to do something together in her memory and we hope she would be proud of us.
“Rennie Grove was wonderful in its care for Karen and she was able to stay at home right until the end. We’re delighted that we’ve been able to take part and raise more than £1,000 to help the charity continue to care for other patients and families. Thank you to everyone for making it such a memorable day.”
Rennie Grove’s director of fundraising and marketing Gillian Barnett said: “It’s been a fantastic day with support from so many people. We’re absolutely delighted with the response from the local community. It’s been great having Fern with us once again and we’re really hoping that we’ll be able to smash our target of £40,000 for this event and fund thousands of hours of specialist care.
“We’d like to thank everyone who took part. It was obvious that participants enjoyed the challenge and everyone was so appreciative of our lovely marshals, who stood for many hours to ensure our cyclists’ safety and to cheer them along the way. Without these fantastic volunteers we wouldn’t be able to run the event and we’re so grateful to them for the time they gave up and to the many other people who’ve helped in so many ways. Thank you everyone – and we look forward to seeing you again next year!”
The hospice’s next fundraising event is its Muddy Mucker Challenge on Sunday April 10 in Chiswell Green.
People have until Tuesday to sign-up.
Visit www.renniegrove. org/muddymucker for more information.
(From above) Fern Britton with friends Caroline Grange and Cath Powell; the Eltek team; the Hicks family; and Leslie
Hubbard, Mark Lightfoot and Geoff
Ready to ride: (Above) Richard Whittle; Team Karen in memory of Karen Harborne; Fern Britton
and (below) brothers Kevin and Dave Patrick