Ride for Precious Lives

I blogged a few weeks ago Tandem Teamwork to talk about the Ride for Precious Lives and why we are taking part. With 4 days to go until the start, I wanted to say a bit more, thank people who have kindly sponsored us so far, and hope that more of you will be generous enough to do the same.

Everyone has a story about why they do physical challenges to raise money for charity. I’ve done the Race for Life before, a Colour Run and 3 half marathons. Each time I’ve raised some money for different charities and also used the training to get fit. This time it feels different and here’s why.

In my last blog, I explained that Children’s Hospice South West is one of the charities supported by the company my husband and daughter work for. I suggested doing it with him on a tandem this year, whilst waiting for him to arrive on his racing bike at the finish line last year. Although I was not particularly happy in my work at the time, I had no idea how much change was coming my way. I kind of knew that due to the way a merger and change in a formerly public service had taken place, there was unlikely to be a role for me, but things were pretty opaque to say the least. I was looking for other roles and I also set up my own company so I could be flexible and ready. There was one job in particular that I applied for and put my heart and soul into getting. I came second and was bitterly disappointed, but I was lucky to get some really constructive feedback from the external assessor, to give her my details and to connect on LinkedIn. When she tendered for some consultancy work for her organisation and a sister organisation, she let me know, I put in a specification for the work, was successful after a competitive process, and I started the week after the voluntary redundancy I had been encouraged to apply for, took place.

I loved the work and the two organisations immediately. The work was reviewing HR related services in 2 hospices, who both engaged me to do follow up work, and I am now an employee for one of them, Hospiscare in Exeter, as Director of Workforce and Organisational Development. I’m 3 weeks in, but it’s longer really as I’ve known them since December, and I am still blown away every day by the work they do. I’ve been starting to learn about hospice services in general and the support they give to patients, families and carers is more diverse than you would think, caring, sensitive and phenomenal in every way. My role also covers volunteer management, and volunteers make up a substantial part of the workforce and they are utterly invaluable. I know that on the 3 days of this ride, most of the marshals and other people who look after us on the way, will be volunteers (or staff volunteering in their own time).

I’ve digressed a little, because I wanted to use that to say 2 things really. One is that the opportunity to get to know Hospiscare and therefore about what all hospices do, came about following a disappointment that I turned into an opportunity to make a new contact and to be proactive about finding organisations to work for whose values and ethos I share. The second thing is that this makes the privilege of taking part in one of the main fundraising events of the year for Children’s Hospice South West feel even more special. I’ve already told our fundraising team at Hospiscare that once this challenge is complete, I will be helping with our own events, and I know that I’m going to love it.

Actually there is a 3rd reason for saying a bit more about what’s happened in my professional life. Even though I am much happier than I have been in a while now, my body has been slow to catch up with my brain and my soul. Since Oct last year, I’ve had several pretty grotty viruses that have really laid me quite low physically. The last one was only 2 or 3 weeks ago and it dragged on – I know that this will improve and that massive change, even with a really positive outcome, can impact hugely on your health. So unfortunately, my training has not been up to scratch. The route maps are below:

Day 1 St Austell to Westward Ho! 74 miles

Day 2 Westward Ho! to Taunton. 69 miles

Day 3 Taunton to just south of Bristol. 59 miles

So to say I am not completely daunted and scared, would be a lie. Luckily, we have a wonderful daughter, who all along was going to do day 2, to give me a rest day. We’ve come up with a cunning new plan. Each day, I’m doing the morning, then she’s taking over after lunch. Fantastic family team work, although I’m not sure who gets to ride up Cheddar Gorge this way… From my husband’s face, when I asked, and he looked shifty, I think it might be me! So please, please, if you have not done so already, sponsor us. The link is here Edwards Fundraising Page 

In return, I promise to upload lots of photos, tweets, and Facebook updates so you can see how much we are suffering… I mean loving every moment! The Twitter hashtag is #CHSWRide.

Thank you.


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