Intrepid Northampton couple, Tim and Lucy Smith, co-founders of Thomas’s Fund, are aiming to raise £10,270 for charity by cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats on their tandem. Tim and Lucy from Boughton, Northants, have only had their bicycle-made-for-two for 12 months. Tim is an experienced competitor with a number of road race and time trial wins, but Lucy, 48, admits she’s just “a social rider.”
Tim and Lucy made their first overnight trip to Henley on Thames. “I cycle to keep fit and I’m very slow,” says Lucy. “So, the only way to take on this challenge is by doing it in tandem.” The 1,027-mile ride will take an estimated 12 days and they will be unsupported. “We will be carrying all our own kit in panniers,” says Lucy. The couple are raising money for Thomas’s Fund,the charity named after their eldest son Thomas, who died aged 10 from a severe neurological condition that worsened throughout his life. Sadly, their younger son Harry had the same genetic condition and died aged 12 in 2010.
Both boys spent much of their lives in wheelchairs but their parents realised they gained tremendous comfort and joy from music therapy that was available at their special schools but not outside school hours. Tim, a 49-year-old retired policeman and Lucy helped set up the fund in 2007 with co-founder Jan Hall to provide music therapy for children with life-limiting illnesses and disabilities, which mean they are unlikely to reach adulthood.
Most of the therapy is given to the children in their homes, but it is also provided at Northampton and Kettering General Hospitals on the children’s wards one day a week. The charity is run on a voluntary basis through seven trustees with help from other volunteers. Earl Spencer, the charity’s Patron says, “This is a really special charity, providing such a fine service for the children. I’ve always been proud to be associated with it, and I am delighted that Lucy and her husband are taking on such a challenge, to raise significant funds for Thomas’s Fund. I wish them huge luck with it all.”
Lucy adds: “Virtually all the funds we raise go to pay the professional music therapists. It costs about £85,000 a year to run the charity and only a tiny percentage is spent on administration.
The money goes directly to support the young people at a time in their lives when they need it most.”
The Tandem Challenge:
The route is 1,027 miles, with 58,000 feet of climbing. (To put it into perspective, Everest is approx. 29,000 feet.)
They start on June 14 and hope to finish 12 days later on June 25.
The longest planned day is 102 miles on day four where Devon and Cornwall have the worst reputation for steep hills.
The highest point is The Spittle of Glenshee in The Cairngorms, at 2,106 feet.
They will be joined for parts of the route by friends Jon Durnin, Taylor Stewart, Matt Plews, Matt Crabtree and Mike Ives, and maybe others too.
Musical patron John Bowman has arranged a Live music event at The Four All’s pub in Market Drayton on 17th June, which is on day 4 of the challenge. This is where Tim, Lucy, Jonathan Durnin and Matt Plews will be staying after cycling 102 miles!