Cyclists race across Wales for charity
MORE than 120 amateur cyclists made a gruelling journey across Wales to raise vital funds for a bereavement charity.
The sixth annual event, now known as Wish on Wheels, saw participants pedal from Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire to Miskin, Pontyclun, over two days for 2 Wish Upon a Star.
Event organiser Rhian Mannings Burke, who lives in Miskin, lost her oneyear-old son and her husband just five days apart in February 2012.
Her baby son George, who had celebrated his first birthday a week earlier, collapsed suddenly and died shortly after playing happily in the family home.
It was later discovered that the tot was suffering bronchial pneumonia and a severe strain of type A influenza.
But more tragedy was to follow when George’s dad Paul, unable to cope with the sudden loss of his son, took his own life less than a week later.
Following the double tragedy, Rhian set up 2 Wish Upon a Star when she discovered how little emotional support was available to her and Paul.
And since it was founded, the charity has gone from strength to strength and works directly with all of Wales’ health boards and police forces to help provide immediate support for suddenly bereaved families.
Speaking after the bike ride, Rhian, 40, said: “It was a wonderful community event and we had amazing weather for it again. The sun always shines on us – I think it’s a sign from above.
“We have always cycled between Miskin and Somerset, but this year it was a fully Welsh event.
“It was wonderful being able to cycle along the beach front in Mumbles. Everyone was so friendly along the route, and we even had farmers stopping and beeping their horns in support.”
At around the midway point at Briton Ferry, brave Rhian laid flowers near the site where husband Paul died six years earlier.
The 125 cyclists, most of who embarked from Haverfordwest on Friday morning, crossed the finish line at Miskin Manor at about 3pm on Saturday.
“Day two was difficult as it was pretty hilly, but it has to be a challenge otherwise nobody would take part,” said Rhian.
“And it’s nothing com- pared to the challenge these bereaved families face every day. We were greeted by hundreds of people when we arrived in Miskin. They deserved that welcome.”
A big party, including live singers, a DJ and food stalls, was held at Miskin Manor for the participants and volunteers on Saturday. More than £400,000 has now been raised for 2 Wish Upon a Star from the bike rides alone.
The charity bike ride from Haverfordwest to Miskin for bereavement charity 2 Wish Upon a Star