Ray of hope for Long Sutton family

Ready to roll ' James Hobday (left) and David Croucher are cycling to Great Yarmouth on Sunday. SG190515-203TW
Ready to roll ' James Hobday (left) and David Croucher are cycling to Great Yarmouth on Sunday. SG190515-203TW
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There’s a ray of hope in the lives of a family left heartbroken by the loss of two loved ones as they plan a big cycle ride to help others.

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

On Sunday at 4am James and his brother-in-law, David Croucher (37), will set off from Roman Bank, Long Sutton, to pedal nearly 80 miles to the Haven Seashore Holiday Park at Great Yarmouth.

The brothers-in-law hope to raise more than £2,000 and it will go to medical charities, the London-based Brain and Spine Foundation and a leukaemia research charity at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

James’s sister, Victoria Croucher, and her two children, Lyndon (13) and Ellie (11), and James’s dad, Peter (59), will hop on their bikes to ride the last quarter-of-a-mile of the big ride.

Victoria (32) said: “It has given us something positive, but it’s still hard, obviously, losing two people in the space of a few months.”

Victoria’s husband, David, explained: “It was James who came up with the idea due to his grandad being diagnosed with leukaemia around 18 months to two years ago. Originally we were going to do the ride just for leukaemia research but then James’s mum passed away in February. She just collapsed on the Wednesday and died on the Friday.”

Although Jeremy had been ill for a long time, his death came as a shock. Peter said Jeremy had been in remission but then his illness “just came back with a vengeance”.

About three or four weeks before he died, Jeremy moved from Long Sutton to his native Kent. David said: “Whether he knew his time was up, I don’t know. He always said to us that when he goes, he wants to be buried down there.”

David, an engineer at QV Foods, and James, a pupil at University Academy Holbeach, have been in training for the cycle ride and hope to make it to the finish line in six-and-a-half to seven hours.

Peter, a lorry driver with Tesco distribution, said it’s been a tough time for the family and he’s very proud of James and David for taking on the ride.

The family are still living on an emotional roller coaster and Tuesday was a difficult day because it would have been Maria’s 51st birthday.

Four months before she died, Maria, a mother of six, had started work as a cleaner at Peele Community College in Long Sutton.

Peter said: “She loved it and she was popular there.”

n To sponsor James and David, or donate to their

charities, please call Peter on 07947 141118.