Emotional bike ride beckons for Penistone man

Richard JohnsonA Penistone man is to embark on an epic, emotional 750 mile charity bike ride for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, in memory of brothers Paul and Jack Sykes.

Richard Johnson, whose son Matthew was friends with Paul and Jack, decided he wanted to do something in memory of the boys; who died in a fire in their home last year.

The 38-year-old will set off in Lytham St Annes in Lancashire because it was Paul and Jack’s favourite holiday place. He is aiming to complete around 125 miles a day, starting on July 13th and finishing in Penistone on July 18th.

Claire Throssell, Paul and Jack’s mum, has chosen to support Bluebell Wood because she has been supported by the charity’s counselling and bereavement service since her sons passed away. She explained: “When my two boys passed away, they died in hospital in bad circumstances and I couldn’t be with them.

“I know that here at Bluebell Wood, those parents whose children do sadly pass away can be with their loved ones in incredibly supportive, reassuring and loving surroundings. If I can help to keep raising money for such services as the end-of-life suites at Bluebell Wood, I know my two boys won’t have died in vain.

“It means a lot to be at Bluebell Wood, families can get huge strength and support from this organisation and I want to be able to help other parents have a better experiences in the future.”

Richard’s bike ride will take in part of the recent Tour De Yorkshire route and climb around 50,000ft in Yorkshire alone. He will pass through many towns and cities including Harrogate, Leeds, Scarborough, York and Wakefield.

He said: “Our family has grown up with Claire, Paul and Jack, we’re really close family friends. I wanted to really get behind Claire in the coming months by doing something a bit different in memory of Paul and Jack.

“It’s great to be able to do something for such a well-known good cause in their memory – helping other children and families in the area. I am training when I can, before and after work, and am looking forward to it.”

Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, in Sheffield, supports children and families with complex medical needs and life-shortening illnesses. More than 200 children – from across Barnsley, Sheffield and the whole of South Yorkshire – are supported by the charity.

The hospice offers counselling support for current and bereaved families. It also has two end-of-life suites for families to say their special goodbyes in their own space when a child has passed away. It costs more than £3m a year to keep the hospice running.

Claire is also fundraising for Bluebell Wood, she will be hosting a Bluebell Wood charity evening event at on October 24th St John Baptist Church in Pensitone, which she hopes will raise around £6,000 for the charity.

Anna Gott, Community Fundraiser for Barnsley and Penistone at Bluebell Wood, said: “We are incredibly grateful for Richard and Claire’s support; do this in memory of Paul and Jack is very touching as they are helping other families also going through very tough times.

“The money raised will help to make a huge positive difference to our children and families. We are here to help make every moment count for our children and families, supporting the families through their journeys with respite care, day care and sibling support and much more.  We wish Richard lots of luck in his upcoming challenge.”

To sponsor Richard, visit www.justgiving.com/tourdeyawkshirebloke2015/

Bluebell Wood is currently looking for volunteers in the Barnsley area. Anybody who can spare just a few hours a week can get in touch with Anna on anna.gott@bluebellwood.org for information.

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