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After a busy week of riding around local hills in our stunningly beautiful Charnwood Forest, this week is a recovery week leading up to the Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100 miles. As I have mentioned previously I did this ride last year but it had to be truncated to 84 miles due to torrential rain and high winds brought on by Hurricane Bertha. So back to ride up Leith Hill and Box Hill as I have unfinished business to see to!

Today I had a call from Leicester Mercury who wanted to know a bit more about my challenge so had a lovely chat with their reporter Samantha. Apparently there will be a piece in the Monday edition of the Mercury.

Today was also a visit to the offices of Hope Against Cancer – based at The Lodge on Knighton Road. These premises have been loaned to Hope by Leicester University in recognition of the valuable work they do. It was great to meet up with Nigel Rose, Chief Executive and Barbara North Admin and Grants Manager.

It was a useful occasion to brush up on what Hope are doing and to try out the new Hope Velo Club outfit:

Hope Velo Club outfit.

Hope Velo Club outfit.

This kit had its first outing this evening and I am very impressed. It is by far the most comfortable cycling kit I have worn to date. 5 stars!

Val has been asked by Hope to design a Christmas card and she showed her ideas to Nigel and Barbara and has been given the go ahead. So something to look forward to. I love this card, but then I am biased. For those who don’t know, Val is an illustrator and an art tutor and has produced Christmas cards for years, amongst lot of other work. Some of her work is on her website www.valsingh.com – if you do visit this site don’t forget to click on the door on the tree trunk to enter the gallery!

Today Val also had her last hospital appointment as far as her reconstructive surgery is concerned – so we are now officially at the end of her long long journey and she can now return the loyalty card back to the hospital!

The weeks are rolling by so quick and it is just over 6 weeks to the big ride and I am beginning to feel confident. I have lost another pound and it feels so good – I am now the same weight as when I first came to Shepshed as a young man in 1979! I am sure by the time of the challenge I would be the weight I want to be.

Many people have asked me about Hope Against Cancer and our involvement. Some people say they already support Cancer Research UK. Well we do as well. Over the years we have raised thousands of pounds for UK’s main cancer charity and will continue to do so. The interesting thing is that Cancer Research UK itself partly funds Hope Against Cancer and some of its research trials. As a result of this national support Leicester is now one of the Centres of Excellence for cancer research in the UK

The most important message I want to convey to people is that before Hope Against Cancer was set up Leicester and Leicestershire had some of the highest rates of cancer and mortality from cancer in the whole country. Over the years by setting up a local research centre cancer care has improved in terms of health education and prevention, rates of detection, treatment and survival rates – so much so that we are now one of the best in the country.

How has this happened? The most important issue here is attracting top scientists, doctors and support staff to your area. By funding research trials Hope has managed to do this. It can some times be difficult to associate research with improved care as when we talk about research we are often thinking of discoveries and breakthroughs. Now these happen as well but when you have the facilities for such research it certainly brings top brains to your hospital. One of the biggest spinoffs has been the department of Clinical Genetics and its involvement with the 100000 Genome Project in association with the University of Cambridge.

With cancer rising it is only a matter of time we will come in contact with it either directly or in our nearest and dearest. Whereas in the past there was very little hope, now thanks to Hope Against Cancer the outcome is much more positive – so much so that we have great expertise on our doorstep that is attracting patients from other parts of East Midlands and eastern England. Its only today I learned that patients are referred to our hospitals from as far afield as Lincoln and Boston (Lincolnshire).

In spite of this it pains me that this small but very effective charity is very little known outside of Leicester and south and eastern parts of the county. I hope that our involvement will bring its message to Shepshed, Loughborough and more widely in the North and Northwest parts. Once my challenge is over I would like to continue with this blog to promote this message of Hope including promoting good health, diet and exercise.

My sponsorship is almost touching £5000 and here are the various links you can use to sponsor me:



text GURU67 with £amount (from £1 to £10) to 70070

Sponsorship forms are at Charnwood Pharmacy, Bloomin’ Marvellous, Dilip’s Multi store, The Black swan, The Crown, Ryatt’s Optometrist, Hall Croft Opticians, Janine Soars hairdresser at “Sheardesire” in Hall Croft, Rosebery Medical Centre, Rosebery Pharmacy, Forest Edge and Outwoods Surgeries, Bridge Street Medical Centre and Pedal Power in Loughborough. Don’t forget Livio of Livio’s Italian Restaurant is also collecting a voluntary £1 donation from his diners and promising to match it.

Further information about Hope Against Cancer: http://www.hfcr.org

PS – Alfie has had a big spruce up – thanks to Pedal Power – it has new brake pads, new rear cassette to help with the Alpine ascents, new Continental Formula tyres and a general clean. If ever you have seen a happy bike it was Alfie who today was flying up the hills – setting up many personal bests over some segments. Good boy!