TV STAR Fern Britton took to two wheels alongside 500 others over the weekend in the annual Chilterns Cycle Challenge in support of a charity dedicated to caring for the terminally ill.
Fern, a keen cyclist, undertook the 35 mile challenge tackling both the hills of the Chilterns and the cold wind to support Rennie Grove Hospice Care.
While most of those taking part joined the celebrity for the 35mile route, some hardy pedallers braved the 75 mile challengers and others took on a 10k ride.
Fern, a regular supporter of the charity and veteran of the 10k cycle challenge route in 2011, said: "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."
Rennie Grove Events Manager, Ruth Proudfoot, said: "Today has been absolutely fantastic with support from all ages including babies riding on the back of parents’ bikes, a number of participants in their 80s and everyone in between. We had 401 people pre-register for the event and a further 100 people signed up on the day, the largest number of people we’ve ever had taking part. 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 today for the wonderful support. 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"
All routes began and ended in Kingsbury Square, Aylesbury, While some took part simply in aid of a good cause, many did so after the charity provided care to lost loved ones.
Barry Stevens, from Prestwood, lost his father, who had been cared for by Iain Rennie nurses, a few weeks ago.
He said: "It would have been Dad’s 80th birthday today so it just seemed right to take part and raise money for the charity."
Adrian Cooper from Penn also signed up to take part in the 35 mile route with two of his sons, Harry, aged 14 and Oliver, aged 12. Mum, Heather, and younger brother, Thomas, were there to support the adventurous trio in their first organised cycle ride. IRGH nurses had cared for Adrian’s mum.
Among the first to return on the 75 mile route were the team from Beaconsfield based Club Panthers. They completed the 75 mile route in about four and a half hours in memory of Sam, a founding member, who was cared for by Iain Rennie during his illness.
James Nickless from Little Chalfont showed great dedication to the cause by completing the 35 mile route with a broken toe. "I really enjoyed it," said James, "although it was a bit windy. I’m now looking forward to taking part in the charity’s Triathlon on May 4."
For full details of all the Rennie Grove fundraising events and other ways to support the charity, please go to www.renniegrove.org