The end of May saw Jeff Banks back on his bike again riding the length
of Britain for the Donna Louise Trust, a children’s hospice based in
Stoke on Trent.
The idea was the brainchild of Tony Polis manager of Stoke City FC and Nick Hancock. Eight riders in two teams of four ride a relay with four hours on the bike and four off to complete the 975 mile ride. Just to make life more difficult they were putting in six hour shifts through the nights to complete the task.
The riders apart from Jeff were Steph Pulis, Martin Spinks, Mark Chapman, Nick Hancock, Dean Andrews, Tony Pulis and Dan Pallett.
The teams left Stoke on Trent on Monday morning the May anticipating arriving in John O Groats that evening. Disaster struck by Lancaster services when the coach they were travelling in stripped a tyre and was forced to pull into the services. Four hours later the tyre was changed but the mechanics discovered the hydraulics had been cut by the shredded tyre. Another four hours were spent while spare parts arrived from Birmingham. Finally at midnight the teams arrived in John O Groats all ready for an 8.00am start. The sleep deprivation had begun.
The first team got underway at 8 o’clock in the morning under sky that threatened rain at any moment along with a cold northerly wind.
“Surprisingly by Thursday morning we had arrived in Stoke on Trent at the Donna Louise Hospice” recounts Jeff.
“It was an amazing visit with children, Mums and Dads along with the staff giving us a heros welcome. They laid on a fantastic breakfast and it was great to eat sitting at a table for a change.”
“The children were beautiful and so happy and uplifting in spite of all the challenges they face.” Said Jeff “One amazing little girl Ruby even sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow for me.”
The teams pressed on through Thursday and surprisingly rolled into Lands End at 4 o’clock bang on schedule.