Cy­clists race across Wales for char­ity

Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views - MARK SMITH mark.smith@waleson­

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

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