Caen to La Rochelle 2017

UPDATE: Well, we did it!! And in some style too, clocking up a combined milage of over 1,100 miles while eagerly consuming thousands of calories and probably burning off a lot less. There were two comedy falls (Chris and Brett), a memorable high speed pursuit from an angry guard dog, just one puncture and minimal saddle sore – not bad! While the weather upon arrival in La Rochelle couldn’t have been better, we endured a very cold and wet first and second day, not the sort of weather we were expecting through the quiet undulating countryside roads of north western France. Our two support drivers kept morale high, finding RV points and supplying us with hot drinks and food every few hours – a special thank you to them both for making this possible!

Day One (after a sleepless night for most while crossing the Channel) – Caen to Mayenne (87 miles)

Day Two – Mayenne to Cholet (115 miles)

Day Three – Cholet to La Rochelle (74 miles)

After a fantastic celebratory meal and night out in La Rochelle we were all a bit deflated on our return to the dull grey sights of Portsmouth the following morning. A McDonald’s breakfast did it’s best to cheer us up but couldn’t quite pick us up. However the memories we all share of the trip and the amazing support we have received from so many people has lifted our moods. We know Sue would be proud, and we all thank you so much for your support and generosity you have shown – it just proves how much Sue meant to so many people. She is missed every single day, but trips and events like this make life worth living.

In just a few weeks, late into the evening of Wednesday 26th April 2017, six highly-trained elite athletes will set sail (with Brittany Ferries) from the safety of UK shores for Caen, the third largest city in Normandy, France. On arrival in Mainland Europe the following morning, the men will disembark, don lycra, change in to the right lane, and begin the first ever TSMF endurance event – a 264 mile bike ride to the beautiful seaport of La Rochelle, western France. Ably supported by “the two best drivers” of the group, the athletes will tackle the feared undulating roads, taking in ibuprofen and the best sights, sounds and delicacies that France can offer. Following three days in the saddle, and much to their relief, they will arrive in La Rochelle to a heroes welcome.

The six men are undertaking this challenge to raise money for The Sue Moreton Foundation. A lot of people hold Sue in high esteem; she was the best Mother, the best Wife, the best friend, colleague and trusted confidante to so many. To these 6 merry men she means all of that and a lot more. She is sorely missed, but her spirit lives on everyday.

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The purpose of The Sue Moreton Foundation is to continue Sue’s work by supporting and enabling people who are, like Sue, dedicated to the childcare, midwifery and health visiting profession. The Foundation aims to do this by providing supportive funding to:

  • People who wish to train in the field of midwifery and health visiting

  • People who (and projects which) promote and advance the issues prevalent throughout the post-natal care period

This support will be focused in the North Wales area.

As many of you already know, our first project is to fund the installation of The BabyBay Medicare bedside cot in a number of maternity units across North Wales. The BabyBay cot offers new mothers the safest and most comfortable way to be close to their new born baby, offering all the benefits of co-sleeping without any of the associated risks. Despite significant expenditure on maternal obstetric beds, current provision for babies on hospital maternity wards has not changed significantly since the advent of the NHS: the traditional “plastic bowl” trolley cot continues to be used despite advances in the beds provided for mothers.

A new baby is programmed to be no further away from his mother than the length of his umbilical cord. A baby needs to be able to see, hear, smell and sense his mother’s presence in order to feel secure and content. Unfortunately, a baby in a standard cot by the bed is inevitably three foot or more away from its mother. Furthermore, the plastic walls of the cot effectively leave the baby in a sensory vacuum, unable to derive comfort from his mother’s close presence. Routine separation has a profound impact on a new born baby. Recent research has shown a new baby three foot away from its mother can produce three times the level of cortisol, a stress hormone which provokes unhappiness and unsettledness, compared to a baby in skin contact. For more details about the associated benefits of the BabyBay cot, please visit our website or get in touch with one of the trustees

Each BabyBay cot, specially adapted to meet strict NHS requirements, costs in the region of £700. There are over 90 maternity beds across the North Wales region, so there’s plenty of fundraising to be done. Your kind sponsorship money will go directly to this cause – we have no costs, every last penny will go towards the purchase of these cots.

The six elite athletes undertaking this challenge are:

John M
Neil S
Neil M*
John S*

(* Neil M and John S wanted to cycle but we needed drivers and they are the two best drivers. They will also be preparing meals and providing a masseuse service for the athletes)

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