A GROUP of eight cyclists will ride from Manchester to Blackpool in memory of a Billinge woman cared for at Wigan and Leigh Hospice.
The Big Boned Bikers will take on the 62-mile ride in memory of Louise Unwin who died of a brain tumour aged 53 in the hospice in September last year.
The group – Mark Hamilton, Andy Haslam, Mark Heap, Paul Menguy, Jack O’Hara, Simon Costello, Anneke Menguy and Kevin Bardsley – will take part in the annual ride on July 7th.
Mark Hamilton’s wife Victoria, Louise’s sister, said: “Whilst we cared for her at home for 10 months eventually she had to go to the hospice. The love, care, compassion and dedication they gave her was outstanding. They couldn’t do enough for her and our family.”
MOT inspector Mark, who was brother-in-law to Louise, said: “We’ve done the bike ride before for Christie’s but last year Louise got cancer of the brain and spent the last month of her life in the hospice. After everything the staff did for Louise we decided to raise money to help the hospice.”
This will be the third time the Big Boned Bikers team has taken part in the bike ride although the team has grown in numbers from 5 in 2017 to 8 riders this year.
Taking on the ride
Mark said: “When we started doing the bike ride there were a couple of us who were overweight and we said we’re not fat – we’re just big-boned – so that’s how the name came about. The name has stuck even though there’s more of us now and ‘big-boned’ doesn’t apply to everyone.
“We always enjoy doing the bike ride- I’m not built for hills but once we go out of Standish it’s not too bad. The weather is always good, we get to go out together as a group of friends and we’ve got family and friends who meet us half-way and at the end so it’s always a nice day. We also make sure we not only start together but finish together too.”
Mark, Paul Menguy, Simon Costello & Jack O’Hara all work for Wigan Council in the Transport division, Andy Haslam used to work in the division, Mark Heap and Kevin Bardsley are friends and Anneke Menguy is the daughter Paul.
Cyclists get free refreshments including pies, pasties, sandwiches and chocolate as well as a free t-shirt and transport to Manchester then back again from Blackpool.
Sign up is at Manchester to Blackpool Bike Ride.
Christine Edwardson, Community Fundraiser, said: “There’s always a fantastic atmosphere at the bike ride which is why people come again and again. We really look after you and you’ll be helping to support and care for local people with a life-limiting illness.
“The sponsorship raised by supporters including our bike riders helped the hospice care for 1,187 local people with a life-limiting illness in 2018.”