The Force is with Telford charity bike riders - with pictures

By Deborah Hardiman | Telford | Health | Published:

The force was with a a kind-hearted group of cyclists who took on a 25-mile ride from Telford to Bridgnorth towards efforts to raise £80,000 to fund specialist treatment for a woman with cancer.

Anntoinette Richards hopes to travel to Germany to receive an alternative treatment known as Verita Life which is thought will give her the best chance of recovery after she battled breast cancer only to discover the condition has spread to her liver.

Errol Richards with a photo of his daughter Anntoinette

Her devoted dad Errol has enlisted the help of colleagues at Richo, in Telford, in a bid to raise the cash to help the Wolverhampton mother of one.

On Sunday a group of 35 riders took part in the Stars War theme Miles of Hope sponsored ride from the town park to Bridgnorth and back, followed by a social at the factory based, in Priorslee, cake sale and a tombola. They were sent on their way and applauded on their return by Stormtrooper characters led by Lee Massey.

Mr Richards and his wife Claire were among the wellwishers to cheer the weary cyclists as they arrived back.

"My work colleague Lee Smith organised the bike ride along with Darren Craig. Lee Massey then got on board with the Star Wars theme and it's really been a brilliant. We have had 35 cyclists sign up. They paid £10 and some have been sponsored by friends and family. We also had a collection bucket for Miles of Hope and we're selling purple ribbons as it's my daughter's favourite colour.

"They have come from all over the place and we're really grateful for their support.. It's phenomenal what they're doing for Anntoinette ," Mr Richards.


Mr Richards, aged 54, of Bushbury, recently took part in a sponsored run at Priorslee lake near his workplace which has pledged to match fund his efforts

Future events include a gala dinner on December 8 in the WV1 Restaurant at Molineux Stadium featuring music by soul singer Beverley Knight. To purchase group tickets email call 07743 405451 or visit

The fundraising campaign has so far collected £25,311. For more details visit the website

Bev puts heart and soul into fundraiser


Beverley Knight

Soul star Beverley Knight says she cannot wait to help a family friend who is battling terminal cancer.

Beverley will sing at a charity gala next month, organised to help pay for specialist cancer treatment for Anntoinette Richards.

It has been organised by Beverley and Anntoinette's cousin, Lorraine Esson.

Ms Richards, a 32-year-old mother from Bushbury, Wolverhampton, is suffering liver cancer and is hoping to get treatment in Germany after doctors in England said there was nothing more they could do.

A charity gala dinner with entertainment will be held in the WV1 Restaurant at Molineux on December 8.

The gala will feature an acoustic set by Beverley, 44, who has known Ms Richards since she was a young girl. Beverley is also related to Lorraine, who has organised a fundraising page.

Anntionette and her daughter Kiaha, aged 11

Beverley said: “Our families are extremely close and when Lorraine told me what was going on with Anntoinette I was in a state of shock.

“She is so full of life and very healthy. When someone is so clean-living and is struck down with cancer it seems to be a bigger blow.”

Ms Richards, who has an 11-year-old daughter Kiaha, was first diagnosed with breast cancer at the start of this year.

In February, after a mastectomy, doctors thought the cancer had gone, but it spread to her liver, and in August she was told it was terminal.

Beverley said: “I think it was the shock that someone I know could have something as serious as stage 4 cancer of the liver.

“It was one thing to have breast cancer, but then to have it again, that was terrifying, it was Lorraine who said we need to do something.

“The NHS have done what they can, but they can’t do what is needed for her and so this is where we find ourselves, trying to raise money for treatment elsewhere.

“The one thing I know how to do is sing, and I said if there was anything I could do let me know.

“ A month ago the gala was planned, and it is a race against time – six weeks to go.”

Beverley knew Ms Richards as a teenager. When she would visit her grandfather, Mrs Richards’ family, which lived close by in Low Hill, would often join them.

Beverley said: “I have wonderful memories with Anntoinette and her family. I really want to do what I can to help her.”

Beverley says her set will include her classic songs. She will also perform alongside Project 21, a funk and soul band which will be performing also. For the star the date is of the event is perfect. She starts rehearsing for her role as fairy godmother in Birmingham Hippodrome’s pantomime Cinderella on December 4, and they have a break four days later – the date of the gala.

The pantomime will start on December 19, only pausing no Christmas Day and New Year’s Day over the festive period.

Mr Richards, 54, is also raising money for his daughter’s treatment by hiking up the Wrekin three times as part of a mammoth challenge titled Miles of Hope.All proceeds raised from the gala night will go towards Ms Richard’s treatment and survival fund.

Deborah Hardiman

By Deborah Hardiman

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based out of the head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.


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