Tomorrow we set forth on another of our annual fund raisers, 130 miles to ride a bicycle through Scotland and Northumberland, £1000 to make in memory and in honour of a departed soulmate, who, had he still been alive would have had us playing golf instead a past time far more suited to our vintage, thats only one reason why we wish he was still with us.
Just over 27 months ago a group of ten or so of us had been to visit Chris in Wheatfields Hospice where he had been admitted without question and without regard to wealth or insurance cover, the only requirement being that he was in need of palliative care to ease his way from this life in the least painful way possible, the people who worked for The Sue Ryder Trust did just that for him, not just the nursing staff but all of them.
When he had been in there a few days he told us that he had regained a little of his appetite and that morning he had had a full English fry-up breakfast, and enjoyed it thoroughly. At lunchtime a lady came into his room with the menu and there was nothing he fancied on it so he told her about the full English breakfast and how he had enjoyed it so, she tore up the menu and went and told the chef to make another breakfast for Chris, and he did – you see the focus at Wheatfields is the well being of the patient, nothing more, thats all they do.
We left there one evening and went to a nearby pub and sat around talking of the work they do and the cost of the work they do and the fact that most of the cost of the work they do has to be raised from the likes of you and me because Hospices in the UK are generally not part of the NHS, are not funded by the NHS, receive only varying amounts of grants and politically motivated donations from Government coffers which can and does change from one year to the next, but mainly are paid for by charitable fund raising, more than 70% of the Sue Ryder Trust income comes from public donations.
Wheatfields Hospice provides 24 hour care for 18 in house patients and up to 140 day patients and costs in excess of £2.7million a year to run, thats around £2800 per bed per week and in the months after Chris passed away we all decided that we’d like to pay for just one bed for one week, and so was born the idea of the Coast to Coast bike ride – we actually managed to pay for one bed for about ten days, just over £4000 in total on that ride – and then they said they wanted to do it again.
This year our target is a little more modest, £1000, lets say three days costs for one bed, its not much but it helps, it makes us feel good about ourselves, no-one dies (yet), and we get free t-shirts.
Oh yes, and we get away from the wives for the weekend.
So the hotels are booked, van and MPV is booked, bikes have been dusted down, bums freshly vaselined, I’ve booked the foul weather for it always rains on these trips, a four hour trip to Dunbar on the Scottish coast awaits and then in the afternoon we start to ride back, if you have an odd few coins down the back of the settee then please think about sending them to the Sue Ryder Trust at http://www.justgiving.com/doingitforchris or otherwise just think of us tomorrow afternoon as we flog our way down the coast but with not too much sympathy for we will be laughing and Chris will be laughing at us too, laughing at the sight of our lycra clad padded bottoms atop razor-sharp racing saddles, laughing at the thought that if he had still been here we’d be wandering aimlessly around a golf course instead…
Updates will be made throughout the weekend on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/gary.kitchen2