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On Monday 26th July, local surgeon James Melling embarked on a 1666km (1035-mile) bike ride to raise funds for the hospital where he works.
James, a Consultant General and Colorectal Surgeon at Warrington and Halton Hospitals, wanted to give back to his colleagues and patients, whom he claims have been wonderful during the pandemic.
“It has been so inspirational to see how every member of staff in the hospital has given so much extra in terms of time worked, but also emotionally without any question as to the personal sacrifice.
“The patients we treat have also given so much. In particular, the non-COVID patients have been so understanding and kind when faced with repeated cancellations of appointments and operations. I have not heard a single complaint from a patient in this regard, which is incredible. The only response has always been ‘I know there are those more important than me’. Given the frustration that people must feel in these circumstances, to be thinking of other patients is remarkable.
“Raising money to help the WHH charity is a small way of me expressing my admiration and thanks to both my member of staff colleagues and my patients.”
The gruelling, 12-day bike ride began in Land’s End, the southernmost point of mainland Britain, on Monday 26th July and is due to finish in John o’Groats in the far north of Scotland on Friday 6th August, with daily stops along the way in order to rest.
Over the course of the journey, James will also have to battle 23,015m of ascent, which is the equivalent of going up Mt. Everest 2.6 times from sea level.
James, who lives in Norley in Cheshire, logged a staggering 3040 miles, 51,500m of ascent and 183 hours of training in preparation for the event.
However, James won’t be going it alone, as he will be joined by two of his university friends, Martin Kelly and Jim Kidston. The group will need to log over 100km (62 miles) a day in order to finish the challenge in the intended time.
“From a personal point of view, it was initially planned as a way to catch up with old friends whom I could no longer visit during lockdown, as well as wanting to use the lockdown to get fit rather than stewing in the house all day. Cycling became a vital way of trying to relax and turn off away from work which was obviously pretty busy and challenging during the peak COVID times,”
Helen Higginson, Warrington and Halton Hospitals’ (WHH) Charity Fundraising Manager, said: ‘WHH Charity are continually overwhelmed by people who are willing to go that extra mile for others, and we here at WHH all wish to acknowledge James and his to university friends who have set out on this amazing personal challenge to raise funds for our charity may continue their work to provide additional comforts, care and experiences for our staff, patients and their families – please offer your support to them on their journey #togetherweareamazing
You can sponsor James via justgiving.com/fundraising/james-melling4
You can also follow James’ journey on WHH Charity’s Facebook and Twitter pages, where they will be posting regular updates of his progress (@WHHCharity)