My View, Mel Hewitt: Hundreds hit the road for St John’s ride

Sunday's Cycle Sportive for the St John's Hospice, Balby, Doncaster
Sunday's Cycle Sportive for the St John's Hospice, Balby, Doncaster

I have mentioned the St John’s Sportive a number of times in this column over the last few months. There has been a call for cyclists to take part and volunteers to marshall the event, as well as a search for a sponsor.

All the calls were answered.

Last Sunday, more than 150 cyclists set off from St Catherine’s House at Woodfield Park on either a 100 or 65-mile circular route.

Marshalls were dotted around the route and four feed stations up and running.

Some 300 litres of water, 300 bananas and more than 1,200 fig rolls were distributed to keep the participants fuelled and hydrated.

Both routes include some fabulous scenery and take the riders through villages across South, North and East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

Following canals, winding through pretty villages, reaching the borders of Goole and taking in glorious summer softened scenery, the St John’s Sportive is never dull.

Having signed the route with my colleague Les Monks – who along with Alison Constantine and myself was a key organiser – I know how fantastic it was, although I appreciate it was in a car and not on a bike.

The atmosphere was marvellous.

It is an emotional thing to see so many supporting the appeal and taking part in such a physically and emotionally challenging cycle ride.

The cream tea at the finish was provided by Flourish and the tearoom team – I have never seen so many homemade scones in one place .

As well as the core team who organised the event, there were more than 25 people who made the day happen – ‘Sportive makers’ if you like.

You know who you are and I will be thanking you all individually – the event could not have happened with you.

We know already before any sponsorship money for the event comes in that we have raised about £3,000 from entry fees alone.

This is only our second Sportive and I hope it will continue to be part of the hospice calendar.

The emails have been flooding in with positive feedback and this is appreciated.

We want to make the Sportive better each year and a permanent fixture in the cycling sportive listings.

Last, but not least, I would like to thank my family who have not seen an awful lot of me for the last few weeks.

I will be back in the home zone soon I promise – as soon as all the Sportive signs have been taken down.

Woodfield Park will be venue for free family workshops on Sunday from 11am to 4pm, when you can come and help make seaside and circus artefacts for the Balby by the Sea summer spectacular next month.

This is part of the Right Up Our Street project. Have fun.

* Mel Hewitt, Community Fundraiser, St John’s Hospice, Balby