IT was an emotional birthday ride for Neil Bontoft, but after three gruelling days and 200 miles he completed his tribute to his late fiance and helped raise money for the hospital which cared for her.
Accompanied by friend Lee Rogers and cousin Joseph Gordon, he rode from Beverley, North Yorkshire, to Blackpool Victoria Hospital in memory of fiance Siobhan Cavanagh (known as Shiv), who died earlier this year after being diagnosed with leukaemia.
The ride was planned to coincide with her birthday on July 20.
“Team Shiv” took on the challenge to support Blackpool Victoria Hospital, where Shiv, from Garstang, was treated until her death, aged 40, on Valentine’s Day this year.
Around 15 extra friends and family, including Shiv’s two sons, Charlie, 14, and Lewis, 10, joined the three for the last leg of the journey.
Neil, from Fulwood, Preston, said: “Charlie did the last 25 miles with us from Ribchester and Lewis did the last five to 10 miles.
“It was a lot of fun to have them all join us for the last stretch, it spurred us on to get to the end. We managed to hold up a tractor along the way, which was quite ironic!”
However, it wasn’t all easy pedalling, the friends encountering a few mishaps along the route.
Neil, 29, added: “We did about 84 miles the first day, but the second day was really tough. We had three big climbs to make and even with the training put in, nothing quite prepared us – it was a massive challenge.
“All of us had injuries, aches and pains, and I went over the bonnet of a BMW. We thought it might be the end of the journey, but I got up and carried on. So it was brilliant to reach the end.”
Following a charity birthday celebration on July 24, the group have now taken their sponsorship total to over £6,000.
“It has gone beyond any possible expectation. It’s an amazing figure to reach and it all comes from fact people want to help and get involved. A big thank you to everyone who sponsored us,” said Neil
l To support Neil you can log on to www.facebook.com/teamshiv and to donate click on to http://www.justgiving.com/shivcavanagh.