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Pedal power challenge to help hospice

Posted onPosted on 21st May

Mansfield man Tom Scott is gearing up for a 120-mile cycling challenge on Saturday (25 May) in memory of childhood friend Sarah Fallen, aiming to raise funds for a hospice.

Sarah, a nurse who had lived in Leeds for more than 20 years, died in March last year aged 39, following an 18-month battle with cancer.

She was cared for in her final days by the team at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice in Headingley, Leeds.

Tom said: “I first met Sarah when I was a very small child, maybe six or seven, when her family moved in just around the corner from us in Market Harborough. Our mums became very good friends and Sarah and her siblings, Emily and Claire, became like sisters to me and my brother, Ed.

“Our families were always really close. Sarah left home and moved to Leeds to study to be a nurse and subsequently live there. She dedicated her whole life to helping other people – that’s what she lived for. It’s what she always wanted to do.

“When Sarah became ill, it really hit us all – especially seeing the pain that her family were going through. It was a really hard time. Even in her darkest moments, Sarah still had a smile on her face and had the whole room laughing. She was hilarious! I’ll always remember her laugh.”

“The last time I was able to see her and give her a hug was in Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice at the end of February 2023. She died on 9th March, less than two weeks later.

“When I left Sarah that afternoon, I walked outside and was absolutely blown away with emotions. Partly from knowing that it was probably the last time I was going to see her, and partly by the staff at the hospice, who were just incredible.

“I walked through the hospice and everyone is going through the darkest moments of their lives, as are their families. But the staff made the situation feel slightly easier somehow. Watching them speak to Sarah and see how they were treating her, it was just unbelievable. It just made everyone feel a bit more comfortable.”

Tom, pictured with his brother, Ed, decided to embark on a cycling challenge in Sarah’s memory, enlisting the help of his Ed, and three friends.

He added: “Some months before she died, Sarah set up a fundraising event for Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, which her friend, Katy, has carried on in her name. Because of these efforts made by Sarah and the people closest to her, they have so far managed to raise in excess of £30,000.

“I wanted any challenge I did to be a real struggle because Sarah went through hell for the last year before she passed away. I felt like I needed to struggle a little bit and be outside of my comfort zone to try to raise a bit of money for the charity – and raise awareness of the work they do.

“We’ll be cycling 120 miles from Sarah’s family home in Market Harborough to Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice in Leeds. That’s the journey Sarah’s parents had to take so very frequently during her time in the hospice.

“We’re doing it all in one day – it will take probably between six and eight hours. It’s not going to be easy, that’s for sure. The plan is to leave at about 6 in the morning, so we can get to the hospice for early afternoon all being well. It’s also weather dependent, of course!”

Having started his training in September last year, Tom is now averaging 120 miles a week. He added: “I’m excited to get on the road and do the challenge now and see what we can achieve. I set a £2,000 fundraising target and we’re nearly there already

“I’m also slightly nervous. But once you’re on the road and you’re going, that’s it. There are no ifs, buts or maybes!

“We’ve had some special cycling jerseys made up, with a picture of Sarah on them. Sarah will be there with all of us, in our minds, and that’s enough to give us the kick we need to get it done.”

Michael Tarbatt, community fundraiser at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to Tom, Ed and their friends for embarking on this incredible challenge to raise vital funds for Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice. Support like this will ensure that we can keep providing vital and compassionate care to those who need it.”

To support Tom via his JustGiving page, click here.