On 1 May 80 cyclists finished their Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge triumphantly at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower after smashing their fundraising target of £100,000 for Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

The intrepid team of Bristol cyclists, which included hospital staff and a team of 25 from Bristol-based solicitors DAC Beachcroft, took on the challenge with local hospital charity, Above & Beyond, to support children who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.

Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

Cyclists arriving at the Eiffel Tower, image © Dee Robertson

In just four days, the team covered 430km to reach the French capital for Bristol Royal Hospital for Children’s Neuroscience and Major Trauma and Rehabilitation Unit. The funds will help to create an inspiring and supportive environment for hundreds of children, from across the South West, being treated for traumatic brain injuries, brain tumours, epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

Four time Ironman World Champion and British triathlete, Chrissie Wellington was at the start line at Ashton Court to offer a few words of wisdom before Alex Heys, mum to former patient Ben, sounded the klaxon to set them on their way. Cyclists then gained an all-important power-boost from the French-themed cheering station outside Bristol Royal Infirmary filled with family and friends.

One cyclist riding for the cause is Izak Heys, Dad to Ben, who was treated on the Major Trauma and Rehabilitation Unit for over three months after he fractured his skull. His head injury was so severe he couldn’t walk, talk or eat and needed round-the-clock nursing care. The dedicated team at Bristol children’s hospital provided physio, occupational therapy, supportive psychology and help with his speech until little by little he began to improve.

“I wanted to raise awareness for the fantastic organisation that looked after our son and our family during a crisis,” said Izak. “Throughout those three and a half months, it really felt like a whole community was looking after us and supporting us through a very difficult period.”

“I wanted to raise awareness for the fantastic organisation that looked after our son and our family during a crisis” – Izak Heys, Dad to previous patient Ben

“Together with Colin and Eugene, we’ve formed Team Impi to raise funds and help support the excellent work they do to help other families with similar journeys ahead of them.”

Bristol Royal Hospital for ChildrenAbove & Beyond Bristol to Paris Cyclists with Izak Heys, Alex Heys and Ben Heys, image © Chas Breton

Commenting on the cyclists fundraising efforts, Cressida Prout, Corporate Partnerships and Community Fundraising Manager at Above & Beyond, said:

“The dedication these cyclists have shown to training and fundraising for the 2017 Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge has been unbelievable. Come rain or shine, they have been out on their bikes putting in the miles and spreading the word about this fantastic cause for the children’s hospital.  

“The dedication these cyclists have shown to training and fundraising for the 2017 Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge has been unbelievable”

“Each year, an estimated 40,000 children in the UK are admitted to hospital with severe brain injuries. This means that for children like Ben, hospital can become home for months which is why this year’s cycle challenge is raising funds to create an inspiring and stimulating environment to support every step of a child’s long road to recovery. And I’m pleased to say that, thanks to the incredible support of family, friends, local businesses and hospital staff, we have raised an incredible £150,000!”

The first day included a 95km to Salisbury before pedalling 80km to Portsmouth on day two. Following an overnight ferry crossing to Caen, the team then had two days of over 120km before arriving triumphant at the iconic Eiffel Tower on Monday 1 May.

To donate to the cause, visit: everydayhero.co.uk/event/bristoltoparis2017

Bristol to Paris 2018

  • Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge 2018 will be raising £150,000 for a new scanner in the Fetal Medicine Unit at St Michaels to improve early diagnosis of potentially life-threatening conditions in unborn babies.
  • Registration of interest for the Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge 2018 will be open from Friday 28 April 2017 via aboveandbeyond.org.uk/bristol2paris

Featured image © Dee Robertson