THOUSANDS have been raised for St Richard’s Hospice in memory of a keen cyclist.

Keith Stoneham, from Fernhill Heath, had cancer and was cared for by the St Richard’s Hospice community team before his death in 2017.

Earlier this year, Stuart Summers and Ian Smith, of the city’s Elgar Cycles and Worcester Cycle Centre, decided to take on the tough London to Paris cycling challenge in memory of the 48-year-old, who was a regular customer.

The ride saw Mr Smith cycle 342 miles from capital to capital in temperatures reaching 42C, while Mr Summers was unable to join, following injury in a cycling accident before the challenge. More than £7,000 was raised for the hospice.

“It is a great pleasure to have raised so much money for such a great cause,” said Mr Summers.

“I only hear outstanding reports about the care given by St Richard’s Hospice and going forward this will be my chosen charity due to this”

The £7,000 grand total included a generous donation from Helen Stoneham raised from the sale of her husband’s bikes at Worcester Cycle Centre.

“We would like to thank Helen for supporting the effort in donating £4,000 from the sales of Keith’s bikes,” Mr Summers said.

“We would also like to thank friends, family and customers of both shops for their generous support.”

Mrs Stoneham added: “A nurse visited on a weekly basis and her support was fantastic for both of us.

“Together with the hospice’s community consultant, she was able to get Keith’s pain relief under control and she really made a huge difference to how we coped with his terminal diagnosis.

"Keith particularly found her great to talk to. It’s hard for me to put into words what a great help she was.”

Alongside the care provided to people at home through its Community Nursing Team and Hospice at Home services, St Richard’s Hospice also supports patients and loved ones at its site in Wildwood Drive, Worcester.

St Richard’s Hospice provides free specialist palliative and end of life care for patients living with life-limiting illnesses and supports their loved ones. Each year the hospice team supports more than 3,300 patients, family members and bereaved people in Worcestershire. St Richard’s is an independent charity and relies on donations for three quarters of its annual £8.8m income with the remainder from the NHS.

The charity has launched the Build 2020 Appeal which aims to raise the final £1.4m needed to build a bigger hospice, with the whole project costing £5.3m in total. More than £200,000 was raised through the Worcester Stands Tall giraffe sculptures project in the summer for the charity.