Published on: Wednesday 01 Nov 2023 at 10:41
After Thomas Burton’s grandad, Bob, was cared for by St Clare Hospice’s Hospice at Home team, he decided to take on an epic cycling challenge, raising more than £3,000.
Setting off from Epping, Thomas, along with his brother Ryan and uncle Alan, covered 300 miles across England and Wales, with some big hills in between. The intrepid trio finished at the top of Mount Snowdon after a 3.5 mile climb to reach the peak – all in three days!
Thomas said: “My nan was cared for by St Clare Hospice so when my grandad became ill we knew where to turn. My grandad received care from the Hospice at Home team in the last few weeks of his life. Having someone come in and care for my grandad really took the physical pressure off of my mum, who also cares for my uncle.
“Allowing my grandad to be in his own environment was of a huge benefit to him, I don’t think people understand the level of care the Hospice provides to people in their own homes.
“I’ve wanted to raise money for a long time and with losing my grandad in April, this seemed like the perfect time to do it. I’m in awe of the nurses, the job they do and providing a much-needed smile to families in difficult times.”
Thomas continued: “Before the challenge we trained hard and mentally it was difficult to prepare ourselves. Giving up weekends to train and missing time with our families, especially my two young daughters, was tough.
“The hardest part of the challenge was waking up early – I like my sleep! We had some friendly competition between us – although all the money went to St Clare we never miss an opportunity for some friendly rivalry!
“Riding unsupported we carried our kit on our backs. We didn’t take tents, only carrying our sleeping bags. One night we ended up sleeping in a church yard, which was a memorable experience! We stopped in between two grave stones. The ground was flat and we were exhausted, at the time it seemed the perfect place for a rest but we soon realised we were right under the church tower, which ended up going off every 15 minutes so we didn’t get much sleep!
“We aimed to cover around 90 miles a day and hoped to complete the challenge in four days but we ended up reaching the base of the mountain on the 3rd day just after lunch time. We decided to go for it and climb that night. It took us three hours. We felt amazing when we reached the top and watching the sunset was beautiful.”
He added: “We have had so much support from friends, family and clients. Everyone was really generous. It highlighted to me how much money the Hospice needs to raise each day just to cover costs. Seeing how the funds we raised are spent makes me realise the important work carried out at the Hospice. I would recommend the Hospice and the care my grandad received and being able to be in his own home with daily visits made a difficult situation as good as it could be.
“I have a few more crazy ideas for fundraising so watch this space.”
Thomas, Ryan and Alan raised over £3,000, which could pay for three weeks’ of nighttime home visits by one of our Hospice at Home nursing assistants. Having a night sitter to stay overnight can be a lifeline for people with a life-limiting condition, and their family, who are often caring for them round the clock.