Almost 600 cyclists from around the county and beyond, gathered at Crix in Hatfield Peverel to take part in the long awaited Ride for Helen 2020, raising in the region of £35,000 for the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity!
After Covid-19 restrictions were put in place, the annual cycle event had to be postponed but it finally took place on Sunday 20th September. Strict social distancing measures were adhered to to ensure riders could take part with confidence and guidelines set out by British Cycling were followed.
The annual bike ride, now in its seventh year, has become a firm favourite on the Essex cycling calendar. The Charity welcomed riders of all ages and abilities, with a choice of cycling routes; 6 miles, 15 miles, 30 miles and 65 miles. Those enjoying the beautiful countryside routes included families with small children, seasoned road cyclists and even a Unicyclist and Vintage cycles!
Back at Crix the team from Spokes in Chelmsford were also on-hand to offer complimentary bike checks, advice and repairs.
Jenny Goodson, 60 from Coggeshall and Julie Atkinson, 52 from Hatfield Peverel both completed the 30 mile ride. Jenny said; “We had a brilliant day and were thoroughly impressed with the organisation and social distancing measures which had been put in place. The route was easy to follow with very little traffic so it was a most enjoyable ride.”
Julie added; “It was lovely to cycle through the Essex countryside in the beautiful sunshine; the weather was just perfect and the marshals so helpful.”
Daniel Burford, 43 from Bishop’s Stortford was one of the many volunteers who helped out on the day – without whom the event would simply not take place; “I have attended the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity West Essex Support Centre after being diagnosed with skin cancer. They have been instrumental to my recovery and I felt I wanted to give something back after they helped me so much.
I assisted with the car park and ensured all riders vehicles were parked at least two metres apart to ensure social distancing. I really enjoyed the event and meeting other volunteers; there was a real team spirit and I was really proud to help out on the day.”
Helen Rollason Cancer Charity Therapist Wendy Beer, 49, also took part with her husband Neil, 51 and their daughter Lucy, 11; “On a day to day basis I see first hand the difference we make to our clients living with cancer. The support we give is invaluable and I am very proud to work for this amazing charity.
I felt it was really important to attend with my family and Lucy really enjoyed the 15 mile route which we completed together, after Neil had taken part in the 65 mile route. The atmosphere was fantastic and we all thoroughly enjoyed the event – well done to all of the volunteers and staff who made it possible.”
Helen Rollason Cancer Charity CEO Kate Alden said: “What a fantastic turnout with almost 600 supporters attending our annual Ride for Helen raising in the region of £35,000 for the charity, with over half of the income being generated from sponsorship and more money is flooding in!
We feel very lucky that our patron Ian Twinley, has kindly allowed us to use the beautiful grounds of Crix in Hatfield Peverel as a starting and finishing point every year. I’d like to thank Group 1 Auto Audi for the use of their vehicles as recovery cars, Wilkin & Sons for providing popcorn and snacks, Reading’s Greengrocers of Braintree for bananas and Peake Fruit Ltd of Ardleigh for the apples. Also Spokes Cycle Care and Repair in Chelmsford for their services and repairs and Eat Natural for donating their snack bars.
We couldn’t organise such an amazing and positive event without the help of our dedicated team of volunteers, staff, sponsors and supporters so thank you everyone for making the day so successful.
As we stand, Helen Rollason Cancer Charity is looking at a loss in the region of £150,000 for this financial year, this is just over 15% of our income for last year and this is assuming our budgeted income is achieved. Therefore we really needed to make this event a success and raise as much money as possible to keep our vital charity operational. This money will enable us to provide complementary therapy treatments to over 1280 local people living with cancer.”