A popular amateur dramatics star and St Catherine’s fundraiser will be honoured this summer, as a team of fellow actors ride out in support of the hospice at the famous Manchester to Blackpool Bike Ride.
John Nickson worked tirelessly for the Lostock Hall hospice for 20 years, after joining in 1990 as the charity’s first official fundraiser. He was cared for by St Catherine’s in September last year, after being diagnosed with a cancer affecting the bone marrow.
John, a fan of the theatre who also enjoyed cycling in his spare time, will be remembered by friends from Fulwood-based The Hall Players, as a team of 11 members take on the 60-mile Manchester to Blackpool Bike Ride with St Catherine’s Hospice on July 8.
One of the riders, Dominic Swarbrick, said: “John spent a lot of time with The Hall Players and his last performance with us was in March last year; he had a part in ‘Searching for Doctor Branovic’.
“He was really enthusiastic about amateur dramatics and also enjoyed cycling, so it seems apt for a group of us to come together for the sponsored ride in his memory, and in support of the hospice which was such a big part of his life.
“There are 11 of us taking part; we go out cycling together quite regularly. There are different abilities within the team, so the Manchester to Blackpool Bike Ride is ideal for us as a group – it’s certainly going to be a challenge, but it’s achievable for all abilities with some training.”
He added: “Some members have done long-distance before, and the rest of us are going out a couple of times a week to train, now that the weather’s starting to improve.
“I took part in the St Catherine’s Big Charity Bike Ride a few years ago which was 50 miles, so this will be the longest distance I’ve done. It was great fun last time so I’m really looking forward to it, and we’re pleased to be able to sign up for the challenge with St Catherine’s and raise money for this much-loved local charity in John’s name.”
The Manchester to Blackpool Bike Ride starts at the Imperial War Museum at Salford Quays and travels 60 miles through the scenic country lanes of Lancashire, finishing on the South Promenade in Blackpool. The charity is also organising return transport from the hospice in Lostock Hall for riders and their bikes.
Registration is £20, with sponsorship raised helping to fund the specialist palliative and end-of-life care provided by St Catherine’s at the hospice, in the community, and in people’s own homes.
Lorraine Charlesworth, director of community and income, said: “John was constantly coming up with fun, creative ways to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for St Catherine’s and keep the charity’s profile high in the community, affectionately becoming known as ‘Mr Hospice’ across the area.
“I’m sure he would be very proud to know that he continues to inspire people to support the hospice. So thank you to The Hall Players cycling team, and everyone else who is taking on a charity challenge for St Catherine’s this year. We simply wouldn’t be here without the amazing support of our wonderful communities.”
To sign up for the Manchester to Blackpool Bike Ride, click here or call 01772 629171.
To sponsor The Hall Players cycling team, please click here.