“We found our expectations exceeded at every turn – even the wrong turns. We had the most memorable and enjoyable Bank Holiday for a very long time.”
With so many COVID related curveballs, it’s surprising the ride took place. Less than five weeks before the bike ride, the charity cyclists had nowhere to stay for the night on their 200 mile journey. Thanks to the hard work of supporters and organisers and the generosity of St Wulfram’s in Grantham, the United Reformed Church and St Mary Magdalene Church in Geddington as well as the Dunstable Conference Centre, cyclists had a place to stay each night.
Lisa Wilkinson from Geddington had the responsibility of finding places for all the cyclists and their bikes to stay – a huge challenge with the shifting sands of everyone’s differing responses to COVID. She says: “The lockdown has been difficult for so many of us. The bike ride brings people together at a time when we’ve all experienced the isolation and loneliness of the past year. In raising money for the homeless, it helps those most in need – people who don’t have a home that’s warm and safe for the night, let alone a lock on the door.”
After over 200 miles cycling the group arrived back at The Connection – the very reason for the fundraising where Charles Woodd, Chair of the Friends of the Connection, spoke with the group. He asked firstly if people had enjoyed themselves and every hand went up. Secondly, he asked if it had been a challenge and most hands went up (some of the group are very experienced cyclists). Thirdly, he added that £21,000 had already been raised, and he expected this to reach £25,000 when all the sponsorship money was collected.
Keith Busfield from Stamford first joined the ride over 10 years ago, since when it’s grown year by year. He said: “I have a bed for the night. I have a roof over my head. A lock on the door. A hot shower after a hard day’s cycling. Then there’s food on the table each day. I feel so lucky!! That’s why I’m raising money to assist the homeless.”
Phil and Helen Britton, also from Stamford, joined the ride for the first time this year. In summing up the experience Phil said: “Thank you to all the supporters and participants. Helen and I found our expectations exceeded at every turn – even the wrong turns. We had the most memorable and enjoyable Bank Holiday for a very long time.”
For more information on the bike ride visit www.queeneleanorcycleride.org