A team of fund-raising cyclists are to pedal from Land’s End to John O’Groats in memory of an ‘inspirational’ woman who died aged 35 after battling cancer.
Peter Welsh, of Walsham-le-Willows, is organising the 922 mile challenge - ‘Smiles for Kaye’ - in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care as a tribute to his and his wife’s close friend Kaye Bloomfield.
Kaye, of Thetford, who was a carer, passed away at the hospice last September following an 18 month battle with cancer.
Mr Welsh, 37, said: “This young lady was an inspiration to many, myself not withstanding. Kaye’s plight and struggle made me realise that we all have an inner strength and that this can be put to good use.”
He spoke to Kaye about the cycle before she died and when asked which charity he should support, she ‘named the hospice without hesitation’.
Mr Welsh, who is health and safety manager at Animax Ltd, in Stanton, will be joined by colleagues and friends Jamie Bennington, 36; Pete Hollocks, 46, and Alex Newton, 26.
His wife Sarah, 36, who was Kaye’s lifelong best friend, will drive the support vehicle donated by Northgate Vehicle Hire.
They hope to average 76.75 miles a day - setting off on Sunday and arriving at John O’Groats on June 16.
Mr Welsh said: “I took up cycling in June last year to lose a little weight. Then we realised Kaye wasn’t going to get any better and she inspired me to do something good with my life. I feel nervous, anxious, excited but most of all, I feel determined to keep a promise that I made to Kaye.”
Kaye was a carer in the community before giving up work to be a full time carer for her mother Pat who is disabled and was also diagnosed with cancer in 2011 but recovered following treatment.
She often looked after her niece Kimberley while her sister Karen was working.
Kaye was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer in February 2013.
Shortly before her death, she was pushed around the hospice’s Girls Night Out charity walk by a volunteer from RAF Honington.
The name of the challenge - Smiles for Kaye - is also significant.
“A week or so before Kaye passed she posted to Facebook that she wanted everyone to post pictures of their smiles,” Mr Welsh explains. “There was a huge response so it seems very apt to use this already well-known phrase.”
They estimate to have raised £1,500 so far and a raffle, which was drawn in Thetford on Saturday, brought in £490. Visit https://www.justgiving.com/Smiles-For-Kaye and https://www.facebook.com/SmilesForKaye