One hundred cyclists are preparing to cycle from Sittingbourne to Amsterdam to raise funds for Demelza.
The riders will be cycling 340 miles as part of the Demelza 101 challenge.
They will be setting off from Demelza Kent in Sittingbourne on 27 April and coming into Amsterdam on 30 April.
The team is made up of Demelza family members, keen cyclists, corporate supporters and Demelza staff. They range from those who are used to cycling long distances to those who hadn’t got on a bike for years before starting training.
Over the past 12 months the Demelza 101 team have been raising sponsorship money by holding events including cake sales, a ball, band nights, quiz nights and curry nights. The event has already raised a staggering £98,000 which could pay for two nurses and one care assistant for a year, a day’s care at Demelza SEL and a day’s care at Demelza Kent.
Mum Liz and daughter Kelly Withall from Sittingbourne are the only mother and daughter team taking part in the Demelza 101. Liz took part in the Sittingbourne to Paris fundraiser in April 2014 and has persuaded Kelly to join the team this time.
Liz explains what she got out of the Sittingbourne to Paris bike ride and why she has signed up again: “I couldn’t believe how supportive my fellow riders were, many of whom belonged to clubs and were what I call ‘proper’ cyclists. The crew running the whole event were also such a great bunch. Then to cap off a perfect experience all my family were in Paris waiting for me when we arrived en-masse to ride round the Eiffel Tower. There was much hugging and laughter as well as tears of joy and relief that we had made it.”
Kelly added: “The staff at Demelza do a wonderful but very hard job, a job I could never do, I admire them. Having spoken to parents of children who have been helped by the Demelza team, their care and understanding of the child and parent needs is overwhelming. Please help me raise funds to support this brilliant charity. I want this support to be available to all families that need it.”
Demelza Community Fundraiser David Holmes, from Leysdown, who is also taking part said: “When I went up to Ebbsfleet to collect the bikes from the Sittingbourne to Paris ride I was so taken by the camaraderie by those who took part I decided that if we did it again I would take part.
“However by the time I realised it was about another 100 miles I had already signed up so I couldn’t change my mind. I am really looking forward to making new friends and finishing the challenge.”
Demelza Events Coordinator Emma Austen said: “We are so excited to be organising another epic cycle ride with the challenge two years on of it being a bit longer than Sittingbourne to Paris. It’s been so great to hear about everyone’s different fundraisers and how each rider has approached their training. They all love being part of #TeamDemelza and helping to make a difference to the children and families who need us.”