September 1, 2014, by David Greenaway
The VC’s Life Cycle 4 Blog: Day 17 – The LC4 Community Day
An unusual start to the day: a blog to finish as always, but no breakfast cramming, no mad dash to get kitted up and get off, no route planning; some riders were even reading newspapers after breakfast.
A minibus collected us at 0830 to go from Perth to Edinburgh Airport, and after check in, first stop was the Caffè Nero, my first one in weeks. The flight from Edinburgh to East Midlands was short, but long enough for quite a few riders to have a nap. Then it was back in another minibus to University Park, where we were reunited with the Support Team. They had set off at 0400 to drive back and reassemble our bikes for the ride in.
Our final stint in the saddle was our easiest, from the Science and Engineering Learning Centre, up past Hallward Library to Trent Building, then down the service road to Lakeside and into the LC4 village.
We knew it would be an emotional experience, and it was. The Support Team led on and the riders followed. The welcome from family, friends, colleagues, supporters and visitors as we cycled in was absolutely exhilarating. We could not have hoped for better. It felt great to be back, because it was great to be back.
Between catching up with family and friends, there were speeches, interviews and photo calls. The overall mood was one of celebration, not just for us and the completion of our challenge, but also for the almost 500 other cyclists, young and old, who had taken on one of the Community Rides, which ranged from 6 miles to 75 miles. One of the things that makes the Nottingham Life Cycle the experience it is, is the fact that so many take on these challenges on the final day.
For sure this was the biggest of all the Life Cycle Community Days we have had, a great tribute to the interest which the Nottingham Life Cycle engenders and of course to the terrific work of our Events Team.
I have said in earlier blogs that we felt humbled and privileged to be able to ride for named children. Their families had shown great trust and courage in allowing us to be associated with their children in such a public way. As Shakespeare wrote (in Macbeth) ‘Who could refrain that had a heart to love and in that heart, courage to make love known’.
So it was really special that so many of the families were present today, and of course some of the children themselves. And I might add, a number of the families had also met us en route to cheer us on, including Pam and Mike White, parents of Sam who I was riding for; they met us in Eastbourne, Brighton and Hythe. The families who have channelled energy which could understandably have been dissipated in anger and frustration, into a passion and commitment to help others has been a source of real inspiration to us.
By 1700 most had departed to their homes. As always, I was last to leave! It had been a wonderful day and I would like to say a big thank you to everyone that made it such a special day.
As always my blog had to be finished in the morning, but because of being out with family last night, and a 0900 Board Meeting, it is the first late posting in four Life Cycles, for which I will of course pay a fine. It will be added to two other fines for correct challenges to the accuracy of my Day 16 blog: Karen pointed out we stopped at Huna, not Huma, to re-group and ride in to John O’Groats; and Chris J rightly scolded me that we had climbed 70,000 not 60,000 feet. I am happy to pay up for both, but especially the latter.
Anyway, I arrived in my office this morning to find: an A3 picture of me in Andy’s wig pinned to my desktop screen (not to be included as a blog picture); a chocolate bike for all the riders; and a massive Life Cycle 4 chocolate bike which is about 4×3 feet. The last two were sourced by Sarah, Julie, Toni, Donna and Charlotte in my office, from ‘The Little Chocolate Shop’ in Leyburn, North Yorkshire.
And there is some history to the big chocolate bike. It was made by the shop for the Tour de France. My VCO team contacted the owner, Jim Hogg, and his chocolatier, John Dalby, replaced the Tour de France badge with a Life Cycle 4 (chocolate) badge and he donated it to us. How great is that! Given this heritage (and the fact that it is edible until next June) I think we will auction it for the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre.
This is my final post of LC4. Thank you to everyone who has read this blog and for your many comments, your encouragement and your interest. Even though it has meant late nights and early mornings, it has been a pleasure to write it. I hope it has given you all a flavour of what it has been like to be part of this Life Cycle with this amazing group of people.
Finally, Life Cycle 4 is now over, but the work of the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre is not. Do please continue to take an interest in that work and support it in any and every way you can. Its work can change life chances, and the more we support it, the more lives it might change.
Professor Sir David Greenaway