TV personality Fern Britton joined 500 others taking part in the Chilterns Cycle Challenge for Tring’s Rennie Grove Hospice Care yesterday.
Among them was Barry Stevens, who was cycling in memory of his father John on what would have been his 80th birthday.
Speaking at the event, Barry said: “I knew nothing about the race until Thursday night. I just felt I had to be here.
“Unfortunately I lost my father on the 20th of January this year to cancer and Rennie Grove nurses were absolutely fantastic.”
He said he would be scattering his father’s ashes that afternoon.
He said: “I am quite emotional, but really pleased I’m here – and hope I make it.
“I am slightly apprehensive – I haven’t been on the bike since last summer, so I could be a bit sore later.”
Barry – and most of the other participants in the Chilterns Cycle Challenge – took on the 35-mile route. There was also a 10km and 75-mile route – and all of them began and finished in Kingsbury Square, Aylesbury.
Fern Britton did the 35-miler this year after completing the 10km route in the inaugural 2011 cycle challenge.
She said: “Once again it was a wonderful ride. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to people along the way who were riding in memory of people who have been cared for by the charity.
“Everyone had nothing but praise for the work of the Iain Rennie nurses and I’m delighted to be raising money for this wonderful local cause.”
Gazette reporter David O’Neill and videographer Natalee Hazelwood took part in the 10km cycle challenge.
The Sisson family from Tring were inspired to take part after seeing the banners advertising the event.
Jan, Sarah and their children Joeri and Katie cycle together as much as possible, but this was their first time participating in the Chilterns Cycle Challenge.
Sarah said: “We’d like to cycle more as a family, and we hope this event will kick-start our cycling and get us going ready for the summer.”
Daughter Katie was delighted with her Chilterns Cycle Challenge T-shirt. She said: “I love cycling because you get to go on your bike and it’s better than walking.”
Rennie Grove events manager Ruth Proudfoot said: “We’re really hoping that we’ll be able to smash our £40,000 fundraising target for this event and fund even more hours of care for our patients.
“We would like to thank everyone who took part for their wonderful support. It is obvious that people enjoyed the challenge and everyone was so appreciative of our lovely marshals who stood for many hours in very cold winds to ensure the safety of our participants and to cheer them along the way.
“Without these fantastic volunteers we would not be able to run the event and we are so grateful to them for the time they gave up today and to the many other people who have helped in so many ways.
“It is heart-warming to see a community come together like this to support a service that is making a real difference to so many right on our doorsteps.
“Thank you everyone – and we look forward to seeing you again next year!”