There was a chorus of cheers and a celebratory atmosphere at St Catherine's Hospice on the Mroning of Friday 3rd of May as local man, Patrick McIntosh, from Smallfield, began his 'wheely' great cycling challenge.
His challenge has been supported by Dame Judi Dench and hospice staff.
Triple cancer survivor, Patrick, has already trekked to the South Pole. Now he's taking on his Lifecycle - a mammoth around the world cycling challenge to raise awareness of the fight against cancer. And to raise funds to build a new home for his local hospice, St Catherine's.
And Patrick's epic challenge hasn't gone unnoticed. Before his departure his training efforts caught the attention of his neighbour Dame Judi Dench. She met with Patrick to wish him good luck and to give him a lucky four leafed clover silver medallion charm. Patrick has attached this to his bike for the duration of his challenge.
Dame Judi said, "Patrick's taking on an extraordinary journey. And he's also cycling for our local hospice, St Catherine's. I'm sure most people know about the phenomenal work they do looking after people in our community. Please watch Patrick's progress and give what you can. Because cancer is something that concerns all of us, absolutely all of us, if not ourselves then certainly somebody we know."
Patrick said, "Having Dame Judi's support has been amazing and I was particularly touched by the charm she gave me. The general support I've had has been incredible. I'd like to thank everyone who has already got behind my challenge, by donating and wishing me luck."
Hospice staff and supporters came together to cheer Patrick off for the first stint of his journey of more than 7,000 miles to Japan. Their support meant his journey got off to a great start! After leaving St Catherine's Patrick cycled towards Pease Pottage, which will be the site of a new, larger hospice building in years to come, then headed onto London and Twickenham Stadium. From there Patrick will cycle across Europe and Russia with the aim of reaching Tokyo for the opening game of the Rugby World Cup in September.
Dame Judy Dench created a Good Luck Video for Patrick - Have a look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ljynl4CD-uM&feature=youtu.be
As part of his cycle ride Patrick is raising money for St Catherine's new hospice building. He said, "It's an honour to support St Catherine's as part of my latest adventure. Being a cancer survivor myself I know the importance of their vital care. I want more people to be able to have hospice care in the future so that's why I'm raising money for St Catherine's new larger hospice. The new hospice will allow more local people to have the hospice's expert care when it's needed most."
Speaking at St Catherine's on the morning of his departure Patrick added, "Some people say I'm crazy to want to cycle around the world having survived three cancers, but I want to show what's possible even after a horrible diagnosis and major surgery. I'm really looking forward to getting going now. I'm so grateful to everyone at St Catherine's who has come out to wave me off and wish me well this morning. Knowing I have so many people behind me will keep me motivated on my journey."
After a well earned rest, Patrick intends to continue the next leg of his global cycle ride across North America and Iceland in early 2020.
For the latest updates on Patrick's amazing adventure follow him on Twitter at: @KMGfoundation Or to donate to Patrick in his epic cycling challenge please visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PatrickMcIntoshLifeCycle