by DAISY SAMPSON [email protected]
Five friends from Somerset are due to arrive in Armação de Pêra on Sunday after completing a 700 mile cycle ride in seven days in aid of a Taunton hospital.
The team decided to embark on the journey to raise money for the Musgrove Park Hospital Children’s Unit and The Perthes Association after one of the team, Gary Chaffey, had personal experiences with the two when his son Ben, now seven, was diagnosed with a rare hip bone disease called Perthes.
Gary Chaffey told the Algarve Resident: “After his diagnosis in 2008, Ben had to receive intensive treatment at the hospital for two years but he and the rest of our family all received fantastic care and support from the doctors, nurses and support staff of the Children’s Unit.
“One of the team, Graham Gardener, has a holiday home in Armação de Pêra and we thought it would be a great challenge to cycle there.”
He added: “Cycling has been really good for Ben’s recovery so it made sense that we raise money for the hospital that helped him so much this way.”
The team have been busy preparing for the journey taking part in training rides in the Blackdown and Quantock hills near Taunton.
Gary said: “None of us are club cyclists and I usually just potter into the town with my children but the preparations are helping us to get ready for this epic journey. We have completed a Taunton to Plymouth ride of seven hours while we also have been training along shorter routes.”
The money raised by the team will be used to pay for the resurfacing and reequipping of the outdoor play area of the Children’s Unit.
“We wanted to say thank you to all the staff and raise money for something that would be practical and useful as an outdoor play area brings a welcome change for children who are in the unit for any length of time. Cycling seemed like a good idea at the time,” said Gary Chaffey.
Suzanne Pilkington, a Matron from the Musgrove Park Hospital, said: “Cycling 700 miles in seven days to raise 10,000 pounds is an amazing challenge and we are very grateful for their support.”
For further information about the progress for the cycle ride or to make a donation please visit www.justgiving.com/TSTCycleToPortugal (available in English)