Nurse on 3,200-mile charity cycling challenge arrives in Shropshire

An inspirational nurse cycling 3,200 miles around all 54 children's hospices in the UK has stopped off in Shropshire.

Francesca and cycling partner Tony are welcomed to Tŷ Gobaith
Francesca and cycling partner Tony are welcomed to Tŷ Gobaith

Francesca Lennon, a paediatric nurse from Buckinghamshire, will complete the mammoth journey in 70 days and she has stopped off at Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith.

The 35-year-old was given a warm welcome by children and staff at both the Oswestry and Conwy Valley sites as she wheeled in and was given a guided tour of the facilities where 750 families across the area access specialist nursing care and support.

Francesca worked for the NHS for 10 years before transferring to the hospice sector and saw first-hand what the children and families go through.

And she has recently founded Children’s Hospices Across The UK (ChatUK), a project creating a network between independent UK children’s hospices, and educating the nation about the service they provide.

Francesca said: “It’s been a good start to my challenge but we’ve had mixed fortunes with the weather.

“Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith are both such wonderful hospices and are situated in beautiful parts of the country.

“The staff here are making such a difference to seriously ill children and their families.”

Francesca (left) is welcomed to Tŷ Gobaith by children and staff

Angharad Davies, head of care at Tŷ Gobaith, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Francesca to our hospice and cheer her in as she arrived.

“She is very brave taking on this challenge and is doing a brilliant job in raising awareness of the vital work that children’s hospices across the UK carry out every single day.

“From all the children and staff at Tŷ Gobaith, we wish her a safe and successful onward journey.”

All funds raised from her cycle will go to the children's palliative care charity Together for Short Lives, which supports children’s hospices across the UK.

Francesca began her epic journey on June 20, to mark the start of Children’s Hospice Week, and is also cycling in memory of her close friend's son, Henry, who died earlier this year of acute myeloid leukaemia aged nine.

In tribute to Henry, she has even named her bicycle after him.

She will be cycling through areas including Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Cambridge, Sheffield, Belfast and Scotland and aims to do 46 miles per day and finish on August 28.

For more information about Francesca’s journey and ChatUK visit justgiving.com/team/CHATUK.

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