Gearing up for a challenge

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This group of six friends are getting ready for a very big challenge.

Move over Davina McCall, these Fylde residents will be cycling more than 500 miles for a good cause close to all their hearts.

Liz Caro, Shannon Jackson, Robin Caro, Phil Walker, Elaine Spector and Simon Jacques will be pedalling their way to raising £20,000 for Brian House Children’s Hospice.

The group wants to help the Bispham-based hospice – which provides care for some of the poorliest youngsters on the Fylde coast – refurbish its family rooms.

They have other events planned along the way to boost their fund-raising efforts – including dinners, a party night at Henry’s Bar in Lytham, a golf day at the De Vere Heron’s Reach in Blackpool and a yoga day in June.

They have already run several successful events, such as a pop-up Moroccan restaurant which raised £1,200 and a yoga party night which raised £900.

Canadian Shannon, a mum, who lives in St Annes, said: “Last year a group of four of us did a bike ride to Sunderland.

“I turned 40 this year and another friend turned 50, and we wanted to do something big and to take on a challenge and we felt we wanted to do something for charity.

“We wanted to help a local charity, so we would be putting something back into the community and we would know where the money was going.

“We chose Brian House as it is such a good cause and helps so many local families.

“A friend recently lost a child too, which made it seem even more poignant.

“We went to look around Brian House and just felt so moved. When they told us it would cost £5,000 to refurbish each room, we decided we wanted to raise enough for them to do the four rooms.”

The friends estimate their epic cycle ride in August, which will see them ride from Blackpool Tower to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, will take around six to seven days – planning to cover 70 to 80 miles each day.

Shannon said: “It will be a big challenge. I’ve never been a serious cyclist, just a bit of cycling with the kids.

“We’ve all been training and it’s just a case of building up the miles. So far we have mostly been training separately, but need to train together too – it’s just the logistics of getting everyone together with their busy lives, jobs and families and so on.

“But we are excited about it all and hoping we can raise as much as possible for Brian House.

“We all feel so blessed to be in good health and be able to do this, so we want to do something to help others.”

Team-mate and well-known comedian Phil Walker, son of Roy Walker, added: “I am really looking forward to it, although feeling slightly nervous as it is a lot of miles.

“I think because we are all good friends, we will encourage each other, keep each other going.

“And it is for such a fantastic cause – if we are sore from all that bike riding, it puts things in perspective knowing we are raising money for Brian House.”

To support the team’s efforts, visit

The next events will be a Tower to Tower dinner at Liz Caro’s house on April 24 and 25, call 07979 770454 and a party night in Lytham, at Henry’s Bar and Grill, call Peter on 07860 628802.