A bereaved dad raised more than £4,500 for charity after completing a 200-mile bike ride across Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. Andy Hutton was joined by university pals Steve Formoy and Piran Borlase-Hendry for the poignant challenge, which included trips to the three East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) bases.
They also called at Ipswich Town, Norwich City and Cambridge United Football Clubs, as well as Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge. Andy organised the ride as a way of raising funds and awareness for EACH, the Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) and Brain Tumour Research, in memory of daughter Grace Zuzu, who was 21 months old when she died in May 2022.
It followed a six-month battle against a rare and aggressive type of brain tumour, embryonal tumour with multi-layered rosettes (ETMR).
“I had to have 30 seconds before we came up the drive at The Treehouse, because I saw the room where Grace and I stayed as we came over the bridge,” said the 45-year-old.
“I said it would be emotional and it definitely was. I’d only been back once, shortly after she died, and the tears came. It was wonderful to see the familiar faces of the care team and we’re always indebted to the kindness and support of everyone at EACH.”
Andy, Steve and Piran embarked on a circular route, starting from Grace’s home in Holton St Mary, on the Suffolk-Essex border. They then travelled to The Treehouse and Portman Road, before heading to The Nook, in Framingham Earl, and Carrow Road, home of the Canaries.
After an overnight stay in Norwich, they cycled to Milton and Cambridge United’s Abbey Stadium, and then home via Addenbrooke’s.
“The ride went really well,” said Andy.
“We covered 215 miles in total – the original plan had been to do 200 but we rerouted as I thought it would be nicer to go through Thetford Forest. That was true, although the ‘Thetford cycle loop’ isn’t really designed for anything other than mountain bikes in places, so ten miles took two hours. It was like riding along a beach because the track was just sand for miles.
“We also discovered that the National Cycle Network stops about five miles outside Milton. It meant we had to walk along a footpath for a mile or so and then we had ‘navigational difficulties’ coming into the village. It was quite dark when we arrived and gone 7pm.”
The trio also made a short detour to Grace’s nursery, Constable Country Childcare, where there is a fibreglass owl, called Amazing Grace, dedicated to Grace. It was part of Ipswich’s Big Hoot art trail, in 2022.
“It made for an emotional end to our ride,” added Andy.
“Overall, it was great fun and we’re really happy with the way the fundraising went. The aim was to raise as much as possible for three special causes – three charities we love and want to support – and we’re delighted to have surpassed £4,500.
“All three do an amazing job in financially challenging circumstances and the work they do is desperately needed.”
Andy, Steve and Piran completed their challenge on 22nd and 23rd September. To show your support and make a donation, head here.