Frith House in Burnham-on-Sea was a welcome sight recently for two cyclists on a fundraising mission for Alzheimer's charities.
Patrick Patterson and Cristyn Bevan cycled an epic 320km (around 200 miles) over two days in October, riding in memory of Patrick's dad, Jim, who spent his final months receiving specialist dementia care at Frith House.
The pair wanted to conclude their east to west, coast-coast cycle, which began at St Mary's Island, Kent, at the place Jim called home.
A hero's welcome
The cycling duo arrived to cheers, applause and a celebratory atmosphere at Frith House, where residents and staff were waiting to greet and congratulate them.
Patrick describes being overwhelmed by their welcoming committee:
"Thank you so much for the support, it was absolutely unbelievable to witness the efforts you and the residents went to when we turned the corner into Frith House! Cristyn and I said we felt like proper athletes, just for a minute!"
An epic journey
Describing their coast-to-coast route, Patrick continues:
"We took in so much on the journey across England. Chatham is quite a sprawling ex-industrial town, but we soon headed off through the Kent vineyards and rolling hills before hitting rain on the outskirts of London and up Crystal Palace hill then across South London. The sun appeared in Richmond Park and out along the Thames and into Surrey.
"We stayed just south of Newbury, then resumed in the morning in a light drizzle across the North Wessex Downs before descending into Devizes and along the canal. As we continued to head west, the clouds lifted but we were also greeted by a couple of super steep hills that made us take an extended break! Shortly after we saw the signs to Wells and Cheddar and we knew we were getting close. We worked our way up to the top to Cheddar Gorge then summoned up our final bits of adrenaline and headed to Frith House.
"Thank you once more for making this such a memorable occasion and sharing the memories of my Dad, in such a wonderful and touching way."
Vicki Main-Reade, manager of Frith House, describes how much it meant to be able to cheer Jim's son across the finish line:
"Patrick took on an incredible challenge in memory of his dad, and the residents and staff at Frith House wanted to honour Jim's memory by being there as he and Cristyn crossed the finish line. We have many fond memories of Jim's time with us, and it was a pleasure to care for him and help him to feel at home.
"As a care home offering specialist dementia care, we see the impact that this disease can have not just on those who live with the condition, but also on their loved ones. Somerset Care were pleased to make a donation towards Patrick and Cristyn's fundraising efforts for Alzheimer's Research UK and the Alzheimer's Society."
Fundraising to improve lives
Patrick and Cristyn have so far raised an incredible £5,360 to help fund research into dementia, and support for people who live with the condition. The money has been split between Alzheimer's Research UK and the Alzheimer's Society.
Donations can still be made online, by clicking on the links below:
- Patrick and Cristyn's fundraiser for Alzheimer's Research UK
- Patrick and Cristyn's fundraiser for the Alzheimer's Society
For further information and support about caring for people who live with dementia, please read our helpful blog, or call 0800 8174 990 to speak to our care enquiries team.