Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Tim's epic ride...
On 17 June 2011 my brother George and I will be cycling 1700km across Europe in order to raise £17,000 for SANDS (the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society). SANDS are a little known charity that is very close to our hearts and we have a very personal motivation for carrying out our challenge…
On 17 January 2010 my sister Gemma gave birth to a beautiful baby girl called Tilly-Rose at the East Surrey Hospital in Redhill. Sadly, due to complications in the last few days of pregnancy, Tilly had already passed away. This news came as a devastating shock for Gemma, her husband Rick and our entire family. Fortunately SANDS were on hand at the hospital to provide specialist care and support for my sister during this awful time, along with a private room away from all the usual joys of the maternity ward.
Every day in the UK 17 babies die, the tragic victims of stillbirth or neonatal death. This is a statistic that is showing no signs of decreasing, and behind each number is a family rocked to the foundations by the death of their baby. This is why we have focused on the number 17. We will start our ride in London at the head office of SANDS on 17 June 2011 exactly 17 months after Tilly passed away. We will cycle 1700km across Europe to Brno in the Czech Republic and have set ourselves the target of raising £17,000 for SANDS through sponsorship.
Our journey will take us from London to Dover where we will catch the ferry to Calais. From here we will follow the Europa Radweg R1 – a 3,500km cycle trail that runs from Bulogne-sur-Mer in France to St Petersburg in Russia! We will cycle through France, Belgium and Holland along the North Sea section of the trail. At The Hague the R1 takes us further inland towards Arnhem and then on to Germany. We will follow the trail as far as Lutherstadt Wittenberg, just South of Berlin. From here we will pick up the River Elbe – one of the largest rivers in Central Europe. The Elbe will take us almost 500km through the picturesque landscapes of East Germany and on to Prague in the Czech Republic. A final day resting in the Czech capital will be followed a 200km cycle to the city of Brno, and our final destination.
We would urge anybody to help support us by pledging a donation. Being a small charity, the money will go such a long way. The money we raise will help support anyone affected by the death of a baby. It will enable Sands to work in partnership with health professionals to improve the quality of care and services offered to bereaved families, and will help to promote research and changes in practice that could help to reduce the loss of babies’ lives.
For more information, to follow our progress online or to make a donation please visit www.ride17.com
PS Yes, we'll be keeping a bird list along the way...