On 23rd September 2021 ‘Team Havens’ along with cyclists supporting another Essex based hospice charity Saint Francis Hospice in Romford, will set off from London cycling over 200 miles to Paris, across three days.
Cycling from London to Paris is one of the great cycle experiences in Europe where participants will be passing through picturesque English countryside down to crossing the Channel at Portsmouth and continuing through the small villages and medieval market towns of Northern France. The sight of the Eiffel Tower, the challenge’s finishing point, will evoke a real sense of achievement for all participants.
Participants will have the opportunity to explore the incredible sights of the French capital on the final day of their challenge to celebrate their achievements.
All money raised will help the charity continue to care for adults, babies, children and young people from across Essex living with complex or incurable conditions and their families, by controlling pain and medication, offering respite and caring for them at the end of their lives.
One participant that will be taking on the cycle ride along with her two friends and colleagues is Abi Keenan, 30 from Thundersley. Abi isn’t a stranger to long distance cycling rides – she took part in the charity’s ‘Little Havens to Bruges’ cycle challenge back in September 2019 which inspired her to take one another cycling challenge for the charity to raise more money.
Before training for the challenge, Abi didn’t own a bike and had only ridden a bicycle a handful of times as a child so this was certainly a new experience and challenge for her. She explained, “I wanted to do something big for charity before I turned 30 and had a look through the Havens Hospices website, saw the Bruges ride and thought I would give that a go. I didn’t even own a bike so I borrowed my mum’s road bike. I’ve been on my bike loads since completing the Bruges challenge – I fell in love with the experience of it all and here I am doing it all over again.
“As a Registered Manager for a Domiciliary agency in the area and because of my previous experience working for the charity’s Hospice at Home service I know that Havens Hospices do amazing work – I cried when I got to visit the new Fair Havens because it’s just amazing knowing the difference it’s making to the local community.”
Abi is currently training along with her two colleagues who she persuaded to take on the challenge with her. She said, “Training is going well so far and I am more comfortable on long rides and inclines than I was prior to my Bruges ride. I don’t think many people expected me to actually do it and complete it. When I finished Bruges, I got a picture of my bike tattooed on my arm to remind me of what I had accomplished – not just physically but also the difference it made to the hospice by fundraising.
“It was just the most amazing experience of my life and I know London to Paris will be just the same – that feeling at the end, if you could bottle it and sell it, the hospice would run forever! I have been telling anyone who will listen about the Bruges cycle, and have spent 18 months trying to convince anyone and everyone to sign up for the London to Paris cycle. I would describe it to everyone as a once in a lifetime experience, but I haven’t stopped at one. Apparently, my constant talking about it has convinced my colleagues to join so I won’t complain there – it is becoming a staff outing for us now and I am looking forward to the prosecco at the finish line!”
Cerena Ashwell, Challenges Fundraiser at Havens Hospices says: “The London to Paris cycle is truly a remarkable experience for keen cyclists looking to raise money for a local cause.
“For this year’s event we are absolutely delighted to be teaming with Saint Francis Hospice where both teams of supporters will join forces, driven by our common goal to raise money for our hospice care across Essex.
“Our hospice care services are free of charge and that is only possible thanks to the money raised by supporters taking part in our Challenge events like this one. So, if you are a keen cyclist looking for your next challenge, why not make it the London to Paris cycle?”
For more information about this event and to register your interest, please visit www.havenshospices.org.uk/londontoparis or call Cerena Ashwell on 01245 407374 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To sponsor Abi’s fundraising efforts visit www.justgiving.com/abiandhelen
Published 28th April 2021