Helen and Rob complete cycle challenge
A Baptist minister and her husband have completed an epic 900 mile cycle journey across France to raise funds for Parish Nursing Ministries UK
Helen Wordsworth and husband Rob are safely back in the UK, having cycled all the way up France’s Atlantic coast – and what’s more, they have raised almost £3,000 for Parish Nursing Ministries UK.
Helen and Rob, of Park Road Baptist Church in Peterborough, took on the challenge because of a number of significant anniversaries. Peterborough Cathedral is 900 years old this year, the NHS is 70, and they are celebrating 40 years of marriage. Helen, a former regional minister, has a background in nursing and health visiting, and helped to establish the concept of Parish Nursing in the UK.
‘We wanted to find a way of doing this that would benefit others and link all three special anniversaries,’ explained Helen.
In the event, they actually managed more than 1,000 miles, from Hendaye in the South West to Brittany in the north. They followed la velodyssee (cycle route), wearing out two sets of pedals and brakes (but no punctures), along the way. They created a blog to document their cycle ride.
On finishing, Helen said, 'We made it!
‘A huge thank-you to all of you who have sponsored our cycle ride. We did 1012 miles altogether, wore out two sets of pedals and brakes, but didn't have a single puncture, thanks to some wonderful tyres.
‘It’s good to be back and wonderful to receive news of all your donations.’
Parish Nursing Ministries UK was established in 2006 and continues to grow. There are now more than 100 trained Parish Nurses across the UK, and it is hoped that this will double in the next couple of years.
A recent report by the Cinnamon Network showed the extent to which faith-based groups are assisting the NHS, and Parish Nursing was one of the activities highlighted.
A subsequent report in The Guardian quoted James Morrow, a GP and managing partner of Granta Medical Practices in Cambridgeshire. He said the parish nurse who worked with his GP practice was an 'invaluable addition' to the team.
He said: 'It’s clear that the NHS is being asked and expected to deliver things far beyond what it was expected to deliver 70 years ago, partly because care is being moved out of hospitals into the community, many more people are living longer and more people are living with chronic conditions. As a practice we really welcome voluntary organisations and the local community coming up with solutions.
'Our parish nurse has the ability to provide time and space in a non task-oriented way when so much of the health service is about productivity, measurables and deliverables. That doesn’t match to what people frequently need. She has the freedom to sit, engage and talk and can also act as an advocate for them. Parish nursing is everything we think community-based healthcare should be about.'
For more on Helen and Rob's cycle ride, visit their blog, and their Justgiving page.