Retired Steve Munro (61) will be taking on his epic 14-week journey – which will see him ride 5,266 miles – to fulfil a dream and thank hospice staff for caring for his brother-in-law at the end of his life in 2020.
During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic St Giles Hospice started to care for Steve’s brother-in-law, Tim Jackson, who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. During the lockdown Tim’s symptoms were managed by St Giles, before he was finally admitted to the hospice for end-of-life care.
Steve plans to raise funds in memory of Tim by cycling between 50-70 miles each day, six days a week, starting from his home in Uttoxeter. He will ride until he reaches the sea in north Wales before travelling anticlockwise around the coastline until he returns to where he started.
“I’m planning to set out on April Fool’s Day, which is very apt as my wife thinks I’m mad,” said Steve. “She doesn’t really understand why I want to cycle more than 5,000 miles but I’ve caught the cycling bug and I love a challenge.”
Steve will spend most nights under canvas apart from the occasional days when he ends his journey too far from any convenient campsites. “Hopefully I will have earned the occasional night of comfort in a B&B or a pub, and although I’ll mostly be on my own I’m hoping my sons will each be able to join me for a few days,” he added.
Steve developed a passion for cycling in 2017 when he spent three months cycling 3,000 miles across Canada with his son, Henry. The following year he cycled from John O’Groats to Land’s End with his other son, Thomas, a journey of more than 1,000 miles.
“Before I went to Canada the furthest I’d cycled was 26 miles along the Tissington trail,” he said. “But I love cycling and took early retirement in January 2020 because I wanted to fulfil my dream of cycling around the coastline of Great Britain.
“But then COVID-19 hit and I’ve been waiting ever since for the country to open up again. Hopefully this spring will give me my chance – COVID and weather permitting!”
Steve said he was very grateful for Tim’s care at St Giles, and after his brother-in-law’s death Steve’s sister, Anne, and her children, Freddie and Rebecca, received continued support from the hospice. As a result, he decided to use his delayed cycle challenge to raise funds for St Giles.
He said: “The care at St Giles was absolutely brilliant and throughout Tim’s care every effort was made to ensure that my sister could visit him in line with the COVID-19 guidance, and towards the end my niece and nephew were able to visit too.
“Lockdown wasn’t an easy time for anyone but the staff just kept working despite the pressures they must have been under and went above and beyond the call of duty to look after their patients and families, which we will never forget.
“Ever since Tim passed away I’ve wanted to do something in his memory and also in the memory of other friends and colleagues who have had their lives cut short by cancer. My coastal challenge is the perfect way to raise funds to support the invaluable care that St Giles Hospice provides to people, young and old, in their hour of need.”
Chloe Herbert, Head of Fundraising at St Giles Hospice, said that everyone at St Giles was touched by Steve’s generosity and impressed by his determination to take on such a mammoth challenge.
She said: “We’re so grateful to Steve for undertaking this amazing journey to support St Giles Hospice and really touched that our support meant so much to him and his family. Cycling between Land’s End and John O’Groats is usually seen as the pinnacle of UK bike challenges so to take on the whole coastline of Britain is really something special and we wish him the best of luck.
“We need to raise £850,000 every month just to keep our services going, so the support of fundraisers like Steve is absolutely vital. If anybody would like to complete a challenge of their own or take part in one of our fundraising events, then we’d love to hear from them.
“People can call our fundraising team on 01543 432538 or email email@example.com – we’re here to support you every step – or pedal – of the way.”
If you would like to support Steve’s challenge you can visit his JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stephen-munro6
For more information about St Giles Hospice and the expert care it provides, please visit www.stgileshospice.com
PICTURE CAPTION: Steve Munro prepares for his cycle challenge, and pictured training with son Henry ahead of their Canada challenge in 2017.
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