NHS staff ready for cycle ride of their lives

Kelly Thornham News

Two NHS colleagues are gearing up to take on the RIDE Vyking challenge for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity.

Samantha Hunter and Scott McDonald, who both work in Estates and Facilities at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, are taking part in the classic 70-mile route through Yorkshire on 5 June.

The event will be all the more challenging for the pair because Samantha had never even ridden a bike before lockdown, and since she did take up cycling, she has had two knee operations. Scott, although not new to the sport, is not a regular cyclist. Neither have cycled more than 50 miles before.

Projects Officer Samantha said: “It’s the biggest challenge I have ever set myself. But I wouldn’t be asking people to donate their money unless it was going to be really hard.”

Samantha first got on a bike during lockdown in 2020. She then signed up to complete two Bikeability courses, which were offered to staff of Bradford Teaching Hospitals.

“It’s been a lovely cycling journey, with learning to ride a bike through our hospital Trust,” she said. “So I would really like to give back and raise money for our hospital’s official NHS charity. I work closely with the charity and I see the difference it makes. I want to be part of that amazing work and make a positive difference for our patients and staff.”

Samantha has now been cycling 18 months and she is a member of the Bingley Belles, to whom she is grateful for helping her when she first started, Queensbury Queens cycle club, and the Bradford Teaching Hospitals BRUG cycle group. Despite the experience she has gained, she isn’t resting on her laurels. “I know we will really be earning our pennies in this challenge,” she said.

Energy Manager Scott said: “I asked Sam if she was doing any cycle challenges because I needed some motivation to get back on my bike. Training hasn’t exactly gone to plan, and I’ve not cycled more than 33 miles so far, but we’re both looking forward to the challenge.”

The 70-mile amateur cycle challenge starts in York and takes riders through Yorkshire, including the famous Trapping Hill, which featured in both the Tour de Yorkshire 2016 and the UCI Road World Champs 2019. Cyclists will face a 2.1km climb with an average gradient of 9.9 per cent.

Hayley Collis, Head of Fundraising for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, said: “It means a lot to us that our own staff here at Bradford Teaching Hospitals are proud of the work we do to support them and their patients. Samantha has worked with us on various projects to revamp patient areas, including on our Rays a Smile Appeal, in which we invested £500,000 to make our radiology services at Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospital more child-friendly. She sees the difference it makes and we’re humbled that she wants to raise funds herself.

“We wish Samantha and Scott the very best of luck!”

If you would like to sponsor Sam and Scott, visit their Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/vyking-cycle1

For more information about Bradford Hospitals’ Charity – the official charity partner of Bradford Teaching Hospitals – visit https://bradfordhospitalscharity.org/

More information about RIDE Vyking can be found at https://action.org.uk/events/cycling/vyking-ride

Scott and Sam on a training ride