FORMER Stratford mayor Roy Lodge is preparing to jump in the saddle once again for a cause close to his heart.
Roy, who is also a former national and Great Britain international athlete, will this time be pedalling from Stratford to Bristol in July to raise funds for the Shakespeare Hospice.
His first ride for the hospice was a 100 mile trip around the Cotswolds in 2007, followed by pedalling from Lambeth Palace in London to Stratford in memory of a loved one who had received palliative care from the hospice.
In successive years since Roy has completed 100 mile cycle rides for the hospice.
Roy’s interest and support for the Shottery-based hospice goes back to the days when he was a medical student on placement at St Christopher’s Hospice in London studying palliative care, and the admiration he had for the late Dame Cecily Saunders, the founder of the movement.
Roy said: “My continuing support for the hospice is based on a lack of strategy, a lack of impetus, and a lack of sustainable funding for high-quality end-of-life care in England.
“The debate about how we ensure that people have good end-of-life care drags on interminably, and evidence of progress is depressingly meagre.
“There is a need for the adoption and implementation of a strategy that makes high-quality end-of-life care a national priority. It is simply not acceptable to be surprised that people die.”
As ever he will be supported by wife Gina providing maintenance back up and refreshment on route – plus a good deal of encouragement for Roy who is now in his 80s.
Roy has also been invited to lead out the cyclists at the beginning of the Great Shakespeare Ride from Walton Hall on Sunday July 28.
Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/roy-lodge2 to sponsor Roy.