Havens Hospices is on the lookout for locals to get on their bike and support its care

Havens Hospices is encouraging the public to use pedal power, raising vital funds for its care this early May Bank Holiday weekend after its annual bike ride was cancelled due to the pandemic.

The charity’s Pedal event this year will be asking participants to set themselves their own distance target to cycle across the weekend of Friday 30th April – Monday 3rd May. Participants can cycle the miles however they wish to over that weekend – either embracing the outdoors or by staying home using an exercise bike – or a mix of both.  


Registration to take part is free, but the charity is asking participants to consider making a suggested £15 donation or raise sponsorship to help fund their specialist hospice care. By donating a minimum of £15, cyclists will receive a ‘Pedal Medal’ to commemorate their achievement.  


Because its Pedal event was unable to go ahead this year in its usual format, Havens Hospices would love as many communities around Essex as possible to get involved and see how many times collectively they can cycle ‘virtually’ around the length of the Essex border – approximately 130 miles.  


One participant that will be taking part in the charity’s Pedal event for the second time is Jennie Spittle from Hockley.  Jennie, 48, is an avid supporter of Havens Hospices and since 2017, she has taken part in many fundraising events as well as volunteering for the charity. 


Jennie has first-hand experience of the difference the charity makes to families across Essex. In 2015, the Fair Havens Hospice at Home team cared for her father at the end of his life after he was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. His wish was to die at home and the charity supported the family to make this possible. She said, “We lost Dad to cancer in May 2015, after he fought hard for a year. At the end of his life, Fair Havens Hospice at Home helped us fulfil dad’s wish to die at home – they made this possible with the dedicated care they provided and gave my mum much needed respite as she was caring for him around the clock.  


“Havens Hospices are truly remarkable -I’ve seen how they care for people, they really do make every day count. By supporting Havens Hospices, it keeps Dad’s memory alive for me.” 


Jennie is a very keen cyclist and until her own cancer diagnosis last August, she would cycle approximately 100 miles plus per week. Now recovering from her treatment, Jennie has her eyes set on taking part in Pedal. She said, “I love the speed of cycling on the road and it allows me to visit lots of places in the Essex countryside – places I wouldn’t normally get to see if it wasn’t for cycling.”  


“I urge everyone to get involved with cycling – whatever age or fitness! Being outdoors and being active is excellent for both mental and physical health. Not only is Pedal a great event to take part in for those reasons but you are also supporting local hospice care for your community – it’s a great ‘feel good’ boost all the way!” 


A family from Basildon have also signed up to take on a cycling challenge. Mum Sarah Horne hopes to ride 50 miles over the weekend along with her two young children Sophie and Adam to raise vital funds for the charity. Sophie and Adam are no strangers to cycling and fundraising. Last summer the siblings cycled 100 miles and raised £200 for the charity. Sophie and Adam said: “We are fundraising for Havens Hospices because we think it is important to help those who are unwell and give them all the support they need.” 


Lucy Burgess, Event Fundraiser at Havens Hospices says: “Although we are disappointed that our usual Pedal for The J’s event couldn’t go ahead this year in Chelmsford we are really looking forward to bringing a virtual Pedal event to our communities so we can raise vital funds for our essential care.  


“This has been an unprecedented year for the charity but we have continued to provide our specialist palliative nursing and supportive care to everyone who needs us, whenever they need us and that’s all thanks to the support and generosity of our supporters.  


“The event is great for cyclists of all abilities – from novice riders to experienced teams from cycle clubs – just set yourself a challenge, get active and use your pedal power to see how many miles we can collectively cycle virtually as a community around the Essex border. So sign up and get pedalling to help Havens Hospices continue ‘Making every day count’.” 


For more information and to sign up, visit www.havenshospices.org.uk/pedal  


The charity kindly asks participants to follow the latest government guidelines on social distancing at the time of the event taking place.  


Published 29th March 2021

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Jennie Spittle with her Bike in Leigh-on-sea