Workmates from a West Yorkshire firm are gearing up to cycle coast to coast to raise money for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity.

The intrepid team of 13 cyclists from Owens Corning (a fibreglass manufacturer in Liversedge) are cycling more than 170 miles from Morecambe on the west coast to Bridlington on the east coast on 11 and 12 June. The second day of the epic journey will see further colleagues and friends taking part in a 5km circular hike from Bridlington to Sewerby Hall, with the walkers and cyclists expected to finish at the same time in a fanfare on North Promenade.

The workmates decided to organise the epic fundraising event as a thank you to Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, for the amazing care Liz Jackson (the wife of Owens Corning employee Garry Jackson) received during her breast cancer treatment.

Bradford Hospitals’ Charity is the charitable arm of Bradford Teaching Hospitals, and funds equipment, training, research and projects which enhance the care and treatment of patients.

The group are keen for funds to go to the charity’s cancer fund, to pay for upgrades and enhancements to the chemotherapy unit, which is now located at The Meadows, in Eccleshill Community Hospital. Staff there are keen to raise funds for extra equipment to make chemotherapy more comfortable for patients.

Liz, who spent many hours undergoing chemotherapy treatment since her breast cancer diagnosis in 2018, said the clinical staff were fantastic and made her feel more like a friend than a patient. But, she said, the ward staff wanted to provide more for their patients, which she was keen to help fund as a thank you.

“I know it doesn’t really matter what it looks like, because it’s the people who make it, and the treatment I received on the NHS has been fantastic. But I know the staff want to provide the most comfortable environment for patients.”

Andy Fox, Total Productive Maintenance Specialist at Owens Corning, organised the event. He said they had originally planned the cycle ride – known as the Sustrans Way of the Roses – in 2020, but had to cancel due to Covid-19. The team are now raring to go, he says.

“We are a very close-knit company and so we pull together and support each other through tough times,” said Andy, a TPM specialist with Owens Corning.

“It means a lot to us that we can raise money to say thank you to our NHS and to support Garry and Liz.”

Liz, who will be waving the cyclists off on 11 June, added: “It’s just lovely that Andy organised this cycle ride to raise money. I can’t thank him enough. It will be a very emotional couple of days.”

The team are busy taking part in training rides to prepare them for the Way of the Roses, which is one of the UK’s most popular cycle routes. It takes cyclists along country lanes of Lancashire and Yorkshire.

The cyclists will be joined by a large support team of colleagues, and their venture has been funded by their employer, Owens Corning.

Jane Hensby, Total Productive Maintenance Leader  at Owens Corning, Liversedge, said it was important to colleagues and the company  that they could support Garry and Liz at this time.

“This is one of the reasons people work here – we’re like a family,” she said. “We’re very much looking forward to the challenge and the fact it’s for such a good cause is keeping us motivated.”

Hayley Collis, Head of Fundraising for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, said: “We’re in awe of the dedication Andy and the team at Owens Corning have shown to organise this cycle ride.

“A big thank you to Owens Corning too, for funding accommodation and cycling kit for our amazing cyclists and support team. It’s a testament to the inspirational work of our NHS doctors and nurses, who provided such superb care, that we have grateful patients, friends and family who want to raise money to say thank you.”

Staff who work with cancer patients at The Meadows have a number of items on their wish list, including an Airglove air warming system, which gently heats a patient’s arm to make it easier for clinicians to deliver intravenous drugs. It’s particularly useful for patients requiring extended courses of treatment.

Visit the team’s Just Giving page to make a donation and spur them on!

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/andy-fox11

For more information about Bradford Hospitals’ Charity and how you can fundraise or donate, please visit Bradfordhospitalscharity.org, call the charity team on 01274 274809 or email charity@bthft.nhs.uk

Liz at the start of the Way of the Roses

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