This one’s for you Dad. Andy McKinney and friends to ride from Chester to Amsterdam in memory of dad, Paul. #hospicehero #hospicecare #nursing #fundraising #bikeride #care #thank you

Andy McKinney with bikersAndy McKinney is full of pride when he remembers his dad, Paul, who was with us at Wirral Hospice St John’s until October 2019 when he passed away, having lived with throat and lung cancer for several years.

The hospice couldn’t do enough for my dad. The nurses were so attentive and the care he received was, honestly, second to none. He’d be delighted now that we’re aiming to raise some funds for the hospice with our bike ride from Chester to Amsterdam. The lads have been training so hard to make him proud.

Yes, on Wednesday 19th August, Andy and six other friends will be setting off on their bikes from the iconic Eastgate Clock in Chester to arrive three days later, via the Hook of Holland port, to Amsterdam Rijksmuseum (not ‘bikes museum’!)

It’s a grueling and intense ride from one beautiful City to another. The first day is, just the 71 miles, the steepest in climbs (up to around nearly 1400 feet in parts), will see them eventually settle for the evening in the Pennines at Thurlstone MillHouse.

Then, day two is the small matter of 82 miles from South to East Yorkshire to Hull, again the undulating terrain which will test even the keenest of riders.

Having taken the ferry from Hull to Hook of Holland (Hoek Van Holland) on the third leg of their epic journey they ride out on the final 45 mile ride up to Amsterdam. Thankfully in Holland, as everyone knows, the land is a little flatter so that should help on the now, extremely, tired legs.

Andy tells me a little bit more about his dad, (they’re pictured together here enjoying a drink).Andy McKinney with Dad Paul

Paul was born in Hamilton, Ontario in Canada and Andy’s the middle sibling of three brothers all also born in Canada.

Andy McKinney dad coachAs you might guess Ice Hockey was a favourite sport and when Paul and his sons came to the UK, he coached the Deeside Junior Ice Hockey club, The Deeside Dragons. He was held in great affection by many young people, being seen as a teacher and mentor by everyone who enjoyed their time there.

He lived in Chester for many years before settling in Wirral with his beloved Tarnya whom he met at the winter Ice Rink at Chester Zoo which he managed and where she was head of first aid.

They settled in Wirral where Paul’s passion for the whole region flourished, so much so, that Andy says they could have made him a Blue Badge Tour Guide for all of his visiting friends and relatives.

Before, during and, really, despite his illness Paul always motivated his sons to develop positive attitudes, to follow their dreams, travel the world and challenge themselves to new things and sporting achievements.

Andy himself is now a professional player in the National Ice Hockey League for Telford Tigers and, although he’s too humble to say, a google search shows he’s more than capable of handling himself in a very tough sport!Andy McKinney playing

So you just know that, as they’re all set to go, the team made up of Andy and friends, Joel Bate, Tom Briggs, Matt Davison, Luke Briggs, Jack Watkins and Ross Kennedy will be in good shape to complete the challenge.

Andy launched a Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/john-paul-mckinney setting a challenging target of £10,000 between them to make a great donation to the hospice.

Great good luck chaps. Or ‘Succes (no extra ‘s’) as the Dutch will definitely say.

Author: Billy Howard

81 Days ‘Till #LondontoParis!

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Left To Right: Jo & Chris

It’s getting ever closer to this year’s London to Paris Bike Ride, an awesome and epic cycle through 300 miles of rural towns and countryside from the 20th – 24th July, our twelve strong team are working hard to train and raise funds for the hospice in preparation for this adventure. One member of last year’s team, Chris, spoke to us recently about her experiences with last year’s London to Paris Cycle.

What made you take part in the event?

“As I was an employee of the Hospice observing how hard the staff work in order to support patients and their families, I felt a strong desire to help their efforts and to raise as much money as possible. Jo, who completed the cycle with me, has also worked as a nurse and was keen to be involved.”

How did you find the fundraising side? What was the best way of raising funds?

Fundraising was lots of fun and a great learning experience. We found the best method of fundraising is communication and involvement of family, friends and colleagues. There are many events which, in our case, proved financially beneficial towards our target e.g. coffee morning, fashion shows, pub quizzes, raffles, etc. all time consuming but great fun.”

What did you enjoy about the cycle ride?

“The cycle was awesome from start to finish. Beautiful English and French countryside with local residents and passers-by clapping and cheering encouraging all the cyclists. The finish cycling around the Eiffel Tower is a wonderful, wonderful memory. It is a lifetime experience not to be missed and we have no doubt one we hope to experience again. It surpasses my 7 global marathons and is an achievement we are both very proud.”

What advice can you give to this year’s riders?

“Enjoy the training and include a few hills!! It will be well worth it.”

Another one of last year’s riders, Frank, is doing it all over again this year, he shared with us why he wanted to do the challenge a second time.

IMAG0804 - Copy edit“I’m taking on the London to Paris ride for the second consecutive year. I think that tells you something in itself. It was such an inspirational trip for me. Not just in terms of the personal challenge and the wonderful countryside which the ride passes through between the two capitals. But the shared experience, friendship and support my fellow riders gave to each other was something very special. This July, it will be a privilege to ride again with others who are taking on this challenge for Wirral Hospice St John’s.”

Cycling from London to Paris is one of the great cycle experiences in Europe covering over 300 miles in 4 days. With long days in the saddle and some strenuous hill-climbs, the sight of the Eiffel Tower, the finishing point, evokes a real sense of achievement. It is an inspirational and challenging experience to treasure forever.

If you would like to take part in the 2017 London to Paris challenge simply call Michelle on 0151 343 0778 or email michellet@wirralhospice.org for a full information pack and everything you need to take part in this fantastic event.

Author: Jacinta Warwick

London to Paris Cycle Ride 2014

If you have ever wanted to do an exhilarating challenge for charity, here is your chance! Wirral Hospice St John’s are looking for adventurous volunteers to cycle from London to Paris, connecting two of the world’s most chic cities on one of the best cycling routes in Europe! Cycling through beautiful English villages and into stunning rural France, you’ll pass historical landmarks and famous battlefields from World War I until you reach Paris – undoubtedly one of the most magical places on earth. The sense of achievement you’ll experience will be one you’ll treasure forever.

For those of you in search of the challenge of a lifetime, simply give us a call at the office on 0151 343 0778 or email Kerry at kerryt@wirralhospice.org and we will send you a full information pack and everything you need to take part in this fantastic event. With tours taking place in May, June, July, August and September, there is a challenge that will appeal to you!

An unforgettable experience awaits you!

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