Cycling challenge in memory of father

Jacob Garrod is a keen mountain biker who often rides on the South Downs. Picture: Coyote Pictures
Jacob Garrod is a keen mountain biker who often rides on the South Downs. Picture: Coyote Pictures
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Keen mountain biker Jacob Garrod will be pushing himself further than ever before for the hospice that cared for his father.

Hit the Downs MTB is a new off-road cycling event raising money for both St Barnabas House and Chestnut Tree House children’s hopsice.

Andrew Garrod, Jacobs father, was cared for by St Barnabas House in 2014

Andrew Garrod, Jacobs father, was cared for by St Barnabas House in 2014

A chef from Ford, Jacob, 32, regularly rides all over the south and signed up the event as soon as he saw it promoted on Facebook. He will be cycling in memory of his father, Andrew Garrod, who died from lung cancer.

Jacob explained: “When I saw it was in aid of St Barnabas House, I was sold straight away as that’s where my dad spent his last days.

“I am a very keen mountain biker and ride regularly all over the south. I enjoy pushing myself, be it going further than before, racing for fun or getting over that obstacle that’s been niggling me for a while.

“I’m looking forward to the event as it is further than I normally ride and knowing the local terrain, it should hold some challenging climbs along the way. I love cycling in the South Downs and the landscape views are stunning to say the least.”

Andrew was born in Bristol in April 1947 but settled in Sussex and was living in Worthing when he died on December 10, 2014.

He had an aggressive form of lung cancer and by the time it was diagnosised, it was too late to treat it.

Jacob said: “At this point, the family were introduced to St Barnabas House, a local charity which provides outstanding specialist palliative care both within the hospice and in the comfort of patient’s own homes.

“Initially, Dad had someone coming out to see him at home but due to a rapid decline in his health, it wasn’t long before he was in and out of hospital and we had to think about moving him to St Barnabas full-time.

“He spent his last week in the care of the nurses there, who were very kind and did their utmost to keep him as comfortable as possible, including allowing me to stay there 24 hours a day with dad right until the end.

“I cannot thank the staff enough for doing everything they could to make those extremely difficult last days as bearable as possible for everyone involved. I hope that what I can raise makes a difference and helps the hospice to continue to do so for others who have to go through the same.”

Jacob, who has set himself a £200 target, will be joined by a group of friends, all supporting St Barnabas House.

The challenge, on Sunday, May 7, takes place among the rolling hills of the South Downs Way and the undulating course will test riders with a multitude of tricky climbs and rapid downhill descents. There are 20-mile and 40-mile routes, to encourage cyclists with a range of experience to take part.

The ride will start and finish at Windlesham House School in Washington, with chip timings and refreshments provided en route.

Lucy Bone, events and campaigns fundraiser for St Barnabas House, said: “The majority of the money it costs to run the hospice is raised through voluntary donations and fundraising.

“Just 21 per cent of our funding comes through the NHS, meaning we depend significantly on the generosity and support of individuals like Jacob who help us to raise funds by taking part in events like Hit the Downs MTB.

“We are extremely grateful to Jacob for committing to taking part in this exciting new event and we hope that many others will join him.”

Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jakegarrod to make a donation.

Registration for Hit the Downs MTB is £33 and closes on Monday, April 24. Visit www.stbh.org.uk/hitthedowns to sign up or by call the St Barnabas House events team on 01903 706354.

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