A director at a Milton Keynes-based housebuilder is part of a team tackling a major charity cycle to raise money in memory of a boy who died of cancer.
Paul Appleton with Stanley
Rob Matthews, area build director at Bovis Homes’ Northern Home Counties region, will take part in the ‘Coast to Coast’ cycle challenge, in memory of two-year-old Stanley Appleton.
Stanley died from nerve tissue cancer neuroblastoma and the 139-mile journey – from Whitehaven to Sunderland – is in aid of The Smiles for Stanley Fund run by Solving Kids’ Cancer, to help other children with the condition.
Rob is close friends with Stanley’s father, Paul Appleton, and is one of 19 taking part in the ride, which has been coordinated to match the number of days from Stanley’s diagnosis to his last round of chemotherapy.
Rob, who lives in Milton Keynes, said: “Stanley was a lovely little boy who sadly lost his fight to cancer, so this event is to raise funds in his memory to help other children fight neuroblastoma.
“The cycling is tough. We’ve just done 50 miles – the most we’ve ever ridden in our group training session – and that was mentally and physically exhausting. But a major difficulty will be all the hills.
“We had been training on relatively level gradients and have just started testing ourselves uphill, to get used to the inclines we’ll endure during the challenge.
“So many of my Bovis Homes colleagues have been so supportive and donated plenty towards this wonderful cause. Their encouragement has been a big help and we can’t wait to get out there and experience this challenge as a team.”
Bovis Homes and its contractors are among sponsors of the team’s equipment, which includes a purple hoodie and cycling jersey – the colour of The Smiles for Stanley Fund.
The team will make a special stop in the appropriately-named Stanley, in County Durham, before setting off for a 19-mile run down to the North Sea on day three.
Bovis Homes' Rob Matthews, back, with members of the 'Coast to Coast' challenge team
Dad Paul, who is also riding in the challenge, thanked everyone who had supported the cause so far.
“Stanley was always smiling, he brought joy and laughter to our lives and in return we’ll do our very best to do him proud,” he said.
“Every penny we continue to raise will go to ground-breaking research to ultimately find a cure for neuroblastoma, as well as making the treatment of this hideous disease kinder to those little ones who are forced to endure it.”
The cycle challenge follows last year’s Milton Keynes Marathon, which some of the team
completed, raising £7,000 for The Smiles for Stanley Fund.
Nick Pryce, from Solving Kids’ Cancer, said: “These vital donations could make all the difference to children who are going through the same experience as Stanley and will help make a world of difference.
"We wish the team complete success with their extremely tough challenge.”
The team will cycle from 10th to 13th May and aims to raise £10,000 for The Smiles for Stanley Fund. To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stanleyscoasttocoast.