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Epic ride to help older people

Dean Suter and Emma Wilde training for their cycle ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats

Published on 07 June 2021 12:45 PM

On Wednesday 23 June an Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin volunteer and a member of staff, will be setting off on a 12-day endurance ride of their lives.

Dean Suter, a befriending volunteer, and Emma Wilde, our Senior Day Services Coordinator, have taken up the challenge to ride the length of Britain to raise funds for vulnerable, lonely older people in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

During our 70th year, we aimed to raise funds for our Platinum Appeal to support those living with dementia and their carers, reduce loneliness and provide the information and advice needed to help older people access the financial support they’re entitled to. With many of our fundraising events cancelled due to Covid, we’re reaching out to people to take up their own Platinum Challenge.

Dean, a keen athlete, said: ‘I have volunteered as a befriender at Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin for the past three years and the support provided by the staff and volunteers has been immense. I know they have had to work doubly hard in these challenging times and deserve immense credit.’

‘I started to cycle seriously during lockdown and, with this being the charity’s 70th year, I looked for a serious challenge. Cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats is notoriously difficult, however considering the work that the staff and volunteers have put in over this period, it is the least I can do.’

Emma, a highly experienced cyclist, jumped at the chance to join Dean. She said: ‘As a member of the day services’ staff at Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin, I have witnessed first-hand how hard the past 14 months have been for older people, those with dementia and their carers. The isolation and lack of stimulation have had a really negative impact on older people. More than ever, working for the charity is a real privilege. Cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats is a fantastic opportunity to challenge myself, but also to raise money for our Platinum Appeal.

Catherine McCloy, Head of Income Generation at Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin said: ‘These past 14 months have been particularly difficult for so many older people and with many of our fundraising events cancelled it has been a challenge to find alternative ways to generate donations. We are eternally grateful to people like Dean and Emma for taking up a Platinum Challenge to raise much needed funds. It’s a huge test of endurance but I know they’ve trained hard for it and we wish them the best of luck.’

If you would like to support Dean and Emma on their epic journey, you can make a donation via their JustGiving pages:

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