SEVEN years after losing both her parents to cancer, Caroline Hull will attempt a daunting 500km cycle-ride across her father’s homeland, India, for the hospice nurses who devoted themselves to her and her family in their hour of need.
Caroline’s father Oscar L’Estrange died of leukaemia aged 68, eight years ago.
The following year her 76-year-old mother Dorothy succumbed to bowel cancer, having received care from Prospect Hospice through the worst of her illness.
While the mother-of-two, of Covingham, initially volunteered at the hospice, the keen athlete realised her skills lay elsewhere and decided to raise funds for the charity instead.
The challenge will be a family affair as the 47-year-old will be joined by her brother-in-law Richard Adams on the 10-day expedition to Rajasthan in November 2015 – which will see them cover up to 70km a day.
“My mum never went into the hospice but they were there for her at home,” said the deputy manager at the Spotted Cow at Coate. “They were always there for the family. You don’t know what to do, you have not been through it before and they’re there to help.
“You never know who’s going to need it and they do fantastic work when you do.
“When it comes down to the end of your life, you are scared and it’s an emotional time. The simplest thing they say or do makes a big difference to you and your family.
“I think that if you’ve been through it yourself, you feel like you need to help others.”
Richard, 60, a landscape maintenance contractor from Covingham, added: “Prospect supported the family. They were just excellent and I can’t fault them. Caroline is an avid fundraiser for the Prospect and when she told me of her next challenge, I jumped at the chance to join her.”
The pair have raised nearly £3,500 out of their ambitious £8,000.
Although the challenge is not until October 2015, Caroline and Richard are aiming to get the fundraising part out of the way by the end of the year – which will coincide with the 160 Appeal deadline – and spend the remainder of next year in intense training.
Manoeuvring around cows on India’s famously chaotic roads may present its share of surprises and difficulties but was also the appeal of this ‘pilgrimage’.
“Despite not being able to return to his beloved India, several times in his last days, my dad spoke of things he saw in his mind’s eye, as though he were present. It seemed to the family that in the end he made his return trip,” she said. “As I was unable to visit India when my dad was alive, I deem it an honour and privilege to be able to visit his birthplace, in memory of my dad, whilst raising money for my local charity.”
The pair will hold a bed push outside the Spotted Cow tomorrow.
They will also stage a masquerade ball on August 9 and a ladies’ pamper night on September 27 at Liden Community Centre.
l For more information call 07912568308 or email email@example.com lTo sponsor Caroline and Richard visit www.justgiving.com/caroline-hull3 or www.justgiving.com/richard-adams28