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Cyclists Hit the Downs to raise money for St Barnabas House

Friday 17 May 2019

On Sunday 12 May, 163 St Barnabas House supporters took to their bikes and cycled either 30 or 60km in the third annual Hit the Downs MTB event.

Sponsorship money is still coming in, but currently cyclists are on track to raise around £21,000 for St Barnabas House which is enough to cover the cost of over 13 days of Day Hospice care.

A range of different people took part in the event, from individuals and families riding in memory of loved ones, to keen mountain bikers and corporate teams. The route started and ended at Adur Recreation Ground in Shoreham-by-Sea, with the first wave of cyclists setting off at 7:15am and the final participants crossing the finish line just before 4pm.

Tuxedo TouristsThe Tuxedo Tourists, a group of friends and family from Worthing, were the first St Barnabas House 30km riders to cross the finish line in a time of 1 hour 50 minutes.

Bryan Carter, 42 from Worthing, said: “We all love mountain biking so naturally wanted to help St Barnabas raise money and have a laugh off road on our mountain bikes. We decided to dress up in our tuxedos and get muddy in our smart clothes to encourage everyone to sponsor us and together we have raised over £500 for the hospice.”

Dale Potton, 60 from Shoreham-by-Sea, decided to take on the 30km route in memory of his brother, Ron Potton, and has raised over £1,200 for St Barnabas House.

Dale said: “After losing my brother, Ron, a couple of years ago following a short battle with cancer I wanted to raise money as a small thank you to the nurses who are amazing during such a difficult and sensitive time.”

The ride was made even more meaningful for Dale and his family as just six days before the event they sadly suffered the loss of Dale’s mother in law, Diana Palmer from Shoreham-by-Sea, who was receiving care from the St Barnabas Hospice at Home team.

Dale Potton (centre) and his family after he completed 30kmDale’s wife, Sue Potton, 61, said: “I’m so proud of Dale for completing the ride today. Mum recently lost her battle with breast cancer aged 93. She had three weeks of incredible support from the Hospice at Home team and in that time we never felt alone. They are like angels. The girls always came in with their smiley faces and a shoulder to cry on and they became my friends. They allowed me to be a daughter and not a carer and that was so important. Nothing was too much for them, they always had time for all of us and would sit down and describe every single thing that was going on. They were so respectful of our home and even made friends with our dogs. Since Mum has gone, we’re still getting ongoing support from the hospice which means a lot to us as a family.”

Mark Tyler, 54 from Upper Beeding, was the highest St Barnabas House fundraiser with a total of £2,150. He completed the 60km route in memory of his mother, Angela Tyler, who was cared for by the hospice and sadly passed away on 20 April 2019.

Lucy Brady, Events & Campaigns Fundraiser for St Barnabas House said:

“We introduced Hit the Downs MTB to our events calendar in 2017 and are delighted that it has been so successful. We had our highest number of registered riders this year and everyone seemed to really enjoy the day. It’s great to get such positive feedback about an event and we’re already looking forward to planning the next one.

“Both St Barnabas House and Chestnut Tree House rely heavily on the support of the local community so that they can continue to provide all their vital specialist care services, so events like Hit the Downs MTB are invaluable.

“We would like to thank everyone involved in making the event happen. Firstly, the cyclists, but also the people who supported and sponsored them, and our amazing volunteers; as well as the companies and organisations who donated refreshments or gave up their time to offer support to the riders.”