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Newbury Velo cyclist prepares for 250 mile trip in memory of his mother

Mr Ward is also raising money for Blood Cancer UK

AN Ashampstead villager has set himself a challenge of cycling 250 miles in memory of his mother to raise money for Blood Cancer UK.

Shaun Ward has entered into a cycling event called ‘Chase the Sun’, which starts in Minster on the Isle of Sheppey and finishes in Burnham-on-Sea, all within the hours between sunrise and sunset, on June 19.

As well as raising vital funds for Blood Cancer UK, Mr Ward will be embarking on the challenge in memory of his mother Diane Parrott, who died of coronavirus in December 2020 after a lengthy battle with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

He will be joined by fellow members at Newbury Velo cycling club, a team he has been with since December 2019.

Mr Ward, who is a business operations manager for a manufacturing company, has been with the club since they formed.

He said: “Newbury Velo was warm, welcoming and encouraging on this first engagement, with all the excitement of this new view on what club cycling should be.

“We all met for the first group ride which the club had hosted by the clock tower in Newbury and, to everyone’s amazement, there were 75 riders.

“From this movement I became an addict, wanting to cycle thousands of miles over the year and making bigger and bigger plans about where and when I will get to undertake some of these adventures.”

The 37-year-old hasn’t always been a keen cyclist, but in 2019 he took part in a number of events, including the London to Reading ride and the Blenheim Palace triathlon.

Although 2020 put a stop to a lot of sports, Newbury Velo still managed to safely host a number of club rides and races.

When they were unable to do either, they offered pre-planned routes that were a little mini adventure around the local area.

“The club have supported me to become a ride leader, sharing the skills I have learned from others and placed further development with myself and a number of other members to become coaches,” he said.

Last year proved difficult for Mr Ward and his family as his mother died at the age of 55, after being rushed into hospital just before Christmas.

He was fortunate, along with his brothers, to see his mother just hours before she died, but explained the difficulties afterwards.

Mr Ward said: “Upon leaving the hospital I had to isolate away from my brother and family which was hard and I found myself cycling on an indoor trainer to try and get my head straight around the situation.”

It was from that moment that he decided to enter the Chase the Sun event and raise money for charity.

“I got thinking on how I should try and raise money for Blood Cancer UK to try and get a treatment that will cure the cancer and not have side effects, so others will get the chance to live their life and do the things they plan without an early death,” he added.

If you wish to support his journey and Blood Cancer UK, please donate via the website: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/shaun-ward7

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