Joy from sadness as ride of hope nets £3k for charities

Finish line ' Lyndon Croucher (13), Peter Hobday, James Hobday, Victoria Croucher with Maria's dog, Star, David Croucher and Ellie Croucher (11).
Finish line ' Lyndon Croucher (13), Peter Hobday, James Hobday, Victoria Croucher with Maria's dog, Star, David Croucher and Ellie Croucher (11).

A family left heartbroken by the loss of two loved ones were celebrating a big victory on Sunday.

Brothers-in-law James Hobday (16) and David Croucher (37) completed their cycle ride of hope – a little over 80 miles from Long Sutton to Great Yarmouth – in around six-and-a-half hours.

People had seen us in the paper and they were driving past us tooting and putting their hands up. It was really good.

David Croucher

It means two medical charities will share nearly £3,000 and provide support for people with brain and spine problems as well as leukaemia sufferers.

James lost his mum Maria (50) on February 6 from a sudden brain aneurysm and his grandad, Jeremy Hume (71), died on Saturday, May 16, after a two-year battle against leukaemia.

The University Academy Holbeach pupil dreamed up the ride months ago to help leukaemia sufferers and his mum was a big supporter of the idea.

But Maria’s tragic and unexpected sudden death, followed by the sad loss of Jeremy, her dad, meant the ride would help two good causes close to the whole family’s hearts.

James said: “The ride was a challenge but it was exciting as well.

“Just the reasons why we were doing it kept us going.

“We knew we had to do it to make our mum and grandad proud.”

Maria was a mum of six but son-in-law David was the honorary seventh.

David said he and James were both saddle sore towards the end of the trip.

“I was proud of myself and of James,” he said.

The brothers-in-law were featured on the front page of the Spalding Guardian last week and that gave them a little extra support as they pedalled away.

David said: “People had seen us in the paper and they were driving past us tooting and putting their hands up. It was really good.”

James’s dad, Peter, and James’s sister, Victoria – who is David’s wife – travelled the route in cars to lend support.

The only problem on the way was a loose mudguard on James’s bike that needed to be removed.

Peter and Victoria, and Victoria and David’s children, Lyndon (13) and Ellie (11), hopped on their bikes to complete the last bit of the ride alongside the long distance bikers.

The destination was the Haven Seashore Holiday Park at Great Yarmouth, where the family have a holiday home, and there was great support there in the club with a collection raising around £150 towards the total.

The family originally expected to raise £2,000 to be shared by the London-based Brain and Spine Foundation and a leukaemia research organisation based in Cambridge, but Victoria says the total is climbing and it looks like it will be nearer £3,000 by the time all of the sponsorship money is collected.