Olmypian Holly Bleasdale gears up for charity bike ride for St Catherine’s
Olympian Holly Bleasdale is gearing up for a charity cycle ride in aid of St Catherine’s Hospice on Sunday – as she prepares to head out to the US to work with a new coach.
The fundraiser will see Holly meet fiancé Paul Bradshaw at the finish line of the Liverpool Marathon – which he is also running to raise money for the hospice – and cycle around 30 miles to Holly’s family home in Chorley.
There they will be greeted by relatives and friends for a celebration in honour of their efforts, which will also act as a send-off for the couple before they make the temporary move to Phoenix, Arizona where Holly will work with American ‘super coach’ Dan Pfaff.
The event is also a fabulous way for St Catherine’s to mark the end of Hospice Care Week – a nationwide campaign aimed to promoting the value and importance of hospice care.
Holly, the current British record holder in the pole vault, said she was prepared for swapping the pole vault for the bike saddle. “We’ve done a few practice cycle rides as well as training in the gym on the exercise bike,” she said.
“We’re really looking forward to the event and hoping to raise lots of money for such a worthwhile charity, at the same time as raising awareness of their work at the end of Hospice Care Week.
“As we’re leaving next month for Arizona – and will only be coming back for Christmas between then and when the indoor season starts next year – it will also be a great way to have a good send-off with our family and friends up north.”
Paul, who met Holly whilst training at Blackburn Harriers, wanted to organise a fundraiser for St Catherine’s after his grandma Renee Bradshaw was cared for on the hospice’s In-Patient Unit during her battle with cancer.
Despite facing a mega 30 mile bike ride on top of the gruelling 26.2 mile run, the 24-year-old from Leyland said he was looking forward to the challenge – which they will complete with the help of Condor Cycles, who have donated a pair of state-of-the-art bikes.
“It is a little daunting and I know it’s going to be hard work,” the former teacher in the sports department at Runshaw College admitted.
“But I’ve been doing plenty of training and I’m confident it will go well. The most important thing is that we raise lots of cash for St Catherine’s.
“I was only young when grandma was a patient there but my granddad and my dad both really rate the hospice and it’s always been passed on to me what great work they do there. We’re thrilled to be doing something to support them and delighted to be bringing Hospice Care Week to a close with a bang.”
The theme for the campaign this year was ‘be surprised, hospice care is for everyone’, and aimed to highlight how hospices support people from all corners of their community –whoever they are, wherever they are and whatever their illness.
Jimmy Brash, director of care at St Catherine’s, said: “Hospice Care Week is a wonderful way to promote hospice care and the difference it makes to people with life-limiting illnesses and their families.
“We’re thrilled to have the support of Holly and Paul and wish them all the very best in their challenge.”
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