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May 30 2014

Local Dad Completes 136 Mile Charity Bike Ride

A DAD of two and 6 friends cycled from Edinburgh to County Durham to raise vital funds for the hospice which cared for his terminally ill mother.

John Appleby has been fundraising in aid for St Cuthbert’s Hospice in Durham City following the death of his mum Jennifer, who lost her battle with stomach cancer four years ago.

So far the self-employed French polisher has raised over £1,500 and is hoping his latest challenge will help him pass the £3,000 mark.

John, who lives in Belmont with his wife and two daughters, got on his bike with six of his friends to cycle the 136 miles from the Scottish city to Sherburn Village at the end of May and is hoping to raise as much as possible through sponsorship.

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John, 45, said: “The hospice was absolutely fantastic in caring for my mam in the final stages of her illness. They made her last few weeks as comfortable as they could and nothing was ever too much trouble. Just a week before she passed away she was telling us how lovely the place was and they really did put us at ease because we knew she was comofortable and as happy as she could be.

“The staff there should be applauded for the care they provide to terminally ill patients and after mam died, I pledged to raise as much as I could for them and already I’ve passed the £1,500 mark.

“This bike ride should be great fun and I’m hoping that with the support of my friends and family, I can raise even more money for St Cuthbert’s Hospice. People have been very generous in their support and I’ve already raised over £1,000 and there’s still a few weeks to go.”

John has also benefited from support from Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher, who has donated money towards the fundraising efforts.

Jennifer, who lived on Sherburn Road, was 60 when she lost her battle with cancer and while her battle was fairly short, John believes she suffered from the illness for some time before her diagnosis.

He added: “Knowing mam and how dignified she was after she was told she had cancer, I definitely think she suspected she had it for a while before it was confirmed. She was such a proud woman I think she preferred not to know. But when she was told the illness was terminal, she was so brave. She was hard as nails and was determined to fight it for as long as she could.”

John, who regularly participates in bike rides and biathlons, is in training now and is looking forward to his latest challenge.

He said: “Thankfully I’m in fairly good shape as I do take part in bike rides and biathlons regularly but I have started training for it now. Luckily the weather has been great lately so what better excuse to get out on my bike, which is something I love doing anyway.

“I just hope I can raise plenty of money for the hospice. Obviously anything is good as they rely on donations from the public, but I’d really like to raise a decent amount.”

To DONATE please visit www.justgiving.com/john-appleby7

Twitter @durhampoolie