Cycling challenge, sponsored skydive and donation from Freemasons helps South Yorkshire charities
A man who started cycling to work to keep fit and stepped it up a gear and is now in training to ride from London to Paris for charity.
Mark Williams only got on his bike last summer to make the most of his daily commute and for the last six months has cycled the 30-mile round-trip from his home in Laughton-en-le-Morthen to the Capita Call Centre in Wath.
But now the 34-year-old has signed up for Rotherham Hospice’s 20th anniversary fundraiser - a London to Paris cycling challenge.
The Big20 Challenge, which takes in Rotherham’s twin town of St Quentin en-route, is a 345-mile trip that ends in the French capital on October 2.
Mark is one of the first to sign up for the sponsored event, which will take place over five days.
He said he signed up in memory of his grandmother, Rene Williams, of East Dene, who died of lung cancer six years ago.
She was cared for at Rotherham Hospice.
“My nan went to the hospice on day visits and eventually became an in-patient for the last few days of her life. The hospice is a very special place,” said Mark.
“My mum Brenda discovered the hospice was staging the BIG20 and suggested that as I’d taken up cycling I should sign up. I was happy to do it for my nan.
“But I’ve got a lot of training to do. Cycling to work has got me fitter but 345 miles is a long way.”
There are just 50 places available on the London to Paris ride, which costs £99 to enter, with entrants expected to raise a minimum of £1,750.
Lawyers and staff at the Sheffield office of national law firm Irwin Mitchell has named Support Dogs as its 2016 Charity of the Year.
Employees in the office have voted to support the charity through a series of events over the year, including bake sales, dress down days and special fundraising events.
Sheffield-based Support Dogs helps people with various medical conditions keep their independence through providing training and support to specialist assistance dogs, which help with everyday tasks for disabled people, give advance warning of seizures for people with epilepsy and provide safety and support for children with autism.
Paul Firth, Regional Managing Partner at Irwin Mitchell, said: “We are very pleased to be supporting Support Dogs as our charity of the year and are looking forward to hosting plenty of our fundraising activities throughout the year to raise money for this very worthwhile cause.
“Our employees are very supportive of the charities we get involved with and Irwin Mitchell in Sheffield is passionate about supporting and helping the local community.”
Rita Howson, Chief Executive of Support Dogs, added: “Without support from the local community and companies such as Irwin Mitchell, we would not be able to continue to offer specialist services to people and their families in need of a support dog, so we are very grateful for their support.”
Brave teenager Megan Hancock, 17, from Mexborough, is taking on the UK’s highest tandem skydive in June to raise money in memory of her grandparents.
Megan signed up for the challenge to raise cash for Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity after three of her grandparents received treatment at the specialist hospital in Sheffield.
Her grandad Eddie Welsh, who had colon cancer which spread to his kidney and spine, and her gran, Katie Hancock, who had kidney cancer, spent the final weeks of their lives at the hospital.
Megan’s other granddad, Edward, died of throat cancer at the 49, when Megan’s dad was just 10.
She said: “I want to do all I can to show how grateful we were and still are to this day.”
Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity’s 15,000ft skydive day is to be held at Hibaldstow, North Lincolnshire, on Sunday, June 12.
The charity is keen for other adrenaline junkies to sign up.
St Luke’s Hospice in Sheffield has received a £3,929 cash boost thanks to the Freemasons.
The Whirlow-based hospice was awarded the cash from the Freemasons’ Grand Charity, the national grant-making body funded by Freemasons and their families to support people in need and charities.
“We are delighted to once again be supported by the Freemason’s Grand Charity,” said St Luke’s Trust Fundraising Manager, Deborah Simpson.
“This sort of donation is vital as we work throughout the year to raise the £5.6 million we need simply to maintain our current levels of service.”
* To find out more about the Big20 cycle challenge for Rotherham Hospice visit Rotherham Hospice or call 01709 308917.
* Call 0114 2617800 to find out more about Sheffield-based charity Support Dogs.
* To sponsor Megan Hancok for her skydive for Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity visit Megan Hancock’s Just Giving Page To take part in the challenge visit www.thebigjump.org.uk for more details.
* St Luke’s Hospice in Sheffield can be contacted on 0114 2369911.