This time last year myself and 20 lads, united by a shared love of Portsmouth Football Club, cycled 300 miles to raise money in memory of a little boy who died of a brain tumour.
This year we're doing it again, cycling more than 300 miles from York to Pompey to raise money for eight charities - seven local to Portsmouth and one in York. We will leave Pompey on a coach on April 28 and then, from April 29 to May 1, we will ride back home, arriving in time to see Pompey's last home game of the season: against York City FC.
About the charities:
The Elizabeth Foundation, Portsmouth
We facilitate early diagnosis for babies and pre-school children with all degrees of deafness and provide comprehensive educational and support services for them and their families. By doing so we enable these children to develop their listening and spoken language skills, as well as build their self-esteem and give parents the confidence and knowledge to make informed decisions on behalf of their child.
Jack’s First Steps
Jack and Charlie Simms were born eight weeks early on July 13, 2010. The first year was about Charlie, who had to endure a number of operations, but the twin’s parents soon realised Jack wasn’t progressing as he should.
In May 2012 he was diagnosed with spastic diplegic Cerebral Palsy, and has to wear a lycra suit for his posture, have splints to help with his balance, and use sticks or a walker to move.
The only chance he has of walking unaided is by having a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy operation, which is only available in Missouri. His parents are currently trying to raise the £66,000 to get him there and pay for the procedure, equipment and rehabilitative physiotherapy.
Set up by Paul and Louise Merrick after their late son Sam spent many happy holidays at Haven Holiday Park in West Sussex, Sam’s Haven provides respite breaks for terminally or chronically ill children being treated at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital.
The charity raises money constantly throughout the year to pay for the caravan’s upkeep and fees, and to provide four to five day breaks for up to 15 families a year - more, if fundraising allows.
Harbour Cancer Support
Based in Gosport, Harbour Cancer Support gives practical and emotional support to anyone who has been affected by cancer, whether they are someone who has been diagnosed with the disease or their family, carers and friends.
The service offers a safe haven overlooking Portsmouth Harbour for people to spend time in a calm environment, where trained staff and volunteers are on hand to listen, give advice and help in finding information. The organisation also offers a befriending service, counselling, complementary therapies and support for children.
Kitbags and Berets
Kitbags and Berets is part of the Alzheimer’s Society, and it is an activity group that specifically helps former service personnel live with dementia. The Portsmouth group enables like-minded people to get together and share their experiences in a relaxed environment at the John Pounds Centre, such as veterans with dementia, their family, carers and friends.
Pompey In The Community & Pompey Supporters’ Trust
PITC: Formerly part of Portsmouth Football Club but now a stand-alone charity which retains close ties to the club, PITC’s ethos is simple - to get people moving, to promote health, and to contribute to educational standards across the city.
PST: As well as being the majority shareholder in Portsmouth Football Club, the PST supports a number of fan groups and initiatives. Money raised through the York2Pompey cycle ride will be used to fund a number of PST-led specific community projects that use Fratton Park and the football club as a focal point.
Two of the projects benefitting from our fundraising in this area will include the Disabled Supporters’ Association and the Pompey Pals project.
DSA: The money will be used on practical ways to help and assist disabled supporters attending matches at Fratton Park
Pompey Pals: To help fund a series of projects and events commemorating the battalions of soldiers recruited from around Fratton Park who served in World War One.