TWENTY SIX cyclists covered 2,600km in 26 hours to raise cash the for hospice bereavement services – all from the comfort of their homes.
Members of V-Sprint Cycle Club used the virtual cycling app Zwift to take on The 2.6 Challenge for Primrose Hospice on Saturday.
It was part of the 2.6 Challenge – brought in to recoup some of the cash which would have been raised through the – now postponed – London Marathon.
It tasked participants with organising a challenge to do with the numbers 2 and 6 or 26.
The tenacious V-Sprint members set themselves a target of £2,600 for the fund-raiser but have now had almost £8,600 pledged for the cause.
The cash will go to the hospice’s Coppice Centre which was opened by founder member Jim Varnish’s Olympic cyclist daughter Jess Varnish in 2012.
Primrose Hospice is already experiencing a surge in referrals for its bereavement services.
The hospice expects this increase will continue as people unfortunately experience the deaths of loved ones and changes to funeral protocols caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Jim Varnish said: “Once we heard about the pressure the hospice was under we all felt compelled to help.
“The thought of people not having help and support during this time is heart-breaking and we know all at V-Sprint Cycling Club can help.
“We set up the gruelling 26 hour schedule with 26 members taking one hour turns in pairs with a target of £2,600.
“We will be communicating with each other via Discord throughout the ride to add motivation to everyone.
“In addition we expect riders from all over the world to ‘jump on’ the ride to pull us along.”
The 2.6 Challenge is a national campaign for people to help charities which have seen a drop in fundraising caused by the pandemic.
Sally Insley, fund-raising manager at Primrose Hospice, said: “We have been blown away by the support from the members of V-Sprint Cycle Club.
“A big thank you to each and every one of them, this will make such a difference to the hospice.”
Primrose Hospice has continued to run its services though the lockdown by providing telephone, video call and, where there is a clinical need and it is safe to do so, home visits.
All of its services are free but the hospice costs £1.75million to run with over 85 per cent of this total having to be fundraised independently by the hospice.
V-Sprint was founded in 2009 by Mr Varnish, a former Cycle Speedway World Champion. The club is open to men and women of all ages and abilities and the principal activities are road and track cycling.
Jess Varnish attended South Bromsgrove High School and is a National, European and World sprint cyclist champion.
To boost the team’s coffers further, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/v-sprint-cycle-club-zwift-2-6-challenge3116
To find out more about taking on the 2.6 Challenge for Primrose Hospice visit https://primrosehospice.org/events/2-6-challenge-for-primrose-hospice.