A team of 19 cyclists arrived at St John’s Hospice having cycled hundreds of miles over three days from Bristol in memory of a Lancaster man.
The group was tired yet full of spirits and excitement at having raised more than £13,000 for St John’s Hospice and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Rik Turley, a well-loved Lancaster lad, who was also known as Rik Blackhurst, sadly died a year ago at the age of 45.
Before his devastating and unexpected death Rik had spent a lot of time at the St John’s Hospice inpatient ward visiting his friend Cyril, who on the inpatient ward.
Rik was so impressed with the care of Cyril that he vowed to raise funds for St John’s with a gruelling group cycle ride from Bristol to Lancaster.
Rik had planned this ride to say ‘thank you’ to the hospice but sadly died before he got the chance to do the ride.
Rik’s friends knew how important this cycle ride was going to be for Rik vowed to do it in his and Cyril’s memory on the one-year anniversary of his passing.
Bristol was chosen as the starting point as Rik had enjoyed a career in the local NHS as the beloved physiotherapist of many a grateful patient.
After much planning and preparation a 19-strong team left Congresbury, south of Bristol, having received an emotional and heart-warming send-off by Rik’s wife Jane and his two small children.
They then cycled over hills, flats, wet terrain and winds, through several counties to reach St John’s Hospice three days later, accompanied by another five people who had joined the ride on day three.
The team were escorted for the last six miles by a St John’s fundraiser, a police escort and importantly Rik’s young nephew Kim Robin.
Meanwhile closer to home a parallel cycle ride of nine people was taking place in the Lake District where Rik’s Brother Matt, Matt’s friends and other family friends were peddling their way over miles of up dale and down dale terrain in the Lake District over two days to support the fundraising efforts.
This means a total of 33 cyclists took part in Ride for Rik!
On reaching St John’s Hospice, staff and supporters were greeted by staff, supporters, cheers, tears and hugs before settling down to well-deserved tea, sandwiches and cakes amidst banners, balloons and clicking cameras!
Matt Turley, Rik’s brother, said: “To finish a two-day ride through the Lakes and meet up with everyone from the Bristol ride feels amazing.
“Nine of us completed the Lakes ride, even the notorious Hardknott pass – we all carried Rik’s motivation and positivity to get here.
“To be honest I was riding Rik’s bike and that pushed me even further, especially on day one with a brutal 6,000 feet of ascents in the Lake District!
“We’ve covered Hard Knott, Wrynose, Kendal, Tebay, Dales, Lune Valley and Lancaster; for us all to do that is a toast to Rik and his energy.
“My brother Rik lived life to the full and has left us all with a sense of doing what we want to do.
“I feel so grateful for the time I had with him and the positive effect he had on everyone.”
Rob Martyn-Jones, a close friend of Rik, said: “Pete and I knew that Rik wanted to raise money for St John’s Hospice after the care his friend Cyril received there.
“After Rik died we were all saying how we think about Rik every day and how we feel his sprit, we thought – you know, we can still do this ride for Rik.
“It’s been an emotional ride; when we left Bristol we left at the same point his funeral had left; lots of the people who loved him were there to see us off and it was such an inspiring start.
“We all kept going because we knew that Rik would have loved this ride; we followed his principles of never leaving anyone behind and constantly checking out for each other.”
Pete Raistrick, from the Rik’s Ride team, said: “I’m so pleased we have all done this, it’s been an adventure that is just so typical of my mate Rik.
“Even from the lowest point of a 30 mile ride in the pouring rain to the thrill of reaching St John’s Hospice, we’ve got here; it feels like such an achievement for Rik and the charities.”
Rik’s mother Cynthia Blackhurst said: “I feel really proud to be here at the close of these two rides.
“I’m over the moon to be here with his great friends that are so loyal to my son that they did this for him and the charities.
“So many people have told me that he changed their lives. As a mum I remember him as a harum-scarum lad holding a bunch of dandelions that he’d picked for me.
“Even at school he was helping people, grown men have come to me and told me that Rik helped them at school when they were struggling.
“I guess it was inevitable he’d end up with his jobs in teaching children with extra learning needs and as a physiotherapist because he was also looking out for the ones who needed help.
“He looked for the people others might not look for; like making sandwiches and getting warm clothes for a homeless chap.
“Cycling was his calling, his passion, so it makes sense that his friends remember him as a man who got everyone up and moving; even his memory is getting people up and moving to complete these two cycle rides for St John’s Hospice and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
“Thank you so much to everyone from Ride For Rik – the supporters, the cyclists – Rik would have been so, so proud.”
If anyone would like to donate to Ride for Rik please go online here