Gym buddies take to the saddle for hospice

22 gym buddies recently got ‘in the saddle’ as they cycled from their local gym, Fitness 500 in Sutton to Southport and back, raising a whopping £1653.50 for Willowbrook Hospice.

For organiser, Neil Hughes, 52, the challenge was a personal tribute to the memory of his dad, Anthony who was a day patient at the Prescot-based hospice before he sadly passed away in May 2017, aged 75.

Taxi driver Neil from Dentons Green says: “My dad had been unwell for sometime before he was finally diagnosed in April 2017 with liver and bowel cancer. Unfortunately, at that point he was too ill to receive any preventative treatment but was referred to the Day Therapy service at Willowbrook.

“Although he was initially reluctant to go there, the welcome he received was amazing and after the first session, he couldn’t wait to go back. Everyone there was so supportive and it was great that he could chat to other people who were in the ‘same boat’ as he was.

“On a personal level, I could see what a difference going to Willowbrook made for my dad. The staff and volunteers were fantastic there and nothing was too much trouble.”

Having decided on the cycle challenge and planned the route, Neil decided to invite a few of his mates from Fitness 500 and was overwhelmed by the response.

Neil continues: “From being just a few of us, the numbers soon snowballed so that in the end we had 22 people signed up. I think everyone has had some connection with Willowbrook – whether it’s through a family member or a friend who’s been treated there. It’s such a wonderful place and you know that every penny you raise goes towards helping them to continue to care and support local people like my dad and our family.”

For more information on how you can support Willowbrook, please ring 01744 453798 or go online at


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