A super-fit fundraiser is gearing up for an epic summer of cycling to support the children’s hospice where his partner works. Steve Swindon completed the RideLondon 100-mile event on 28th May and has four more gruelling dates in his diary, starting with this weekend’s 200-mile Round Norfolk Epic.
After another two monster challenges, he plans to finish by riding between the three East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) bases in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.
Steve has a special connection with EACH as partner Jane Rous-Milligan is a Music Therapist there. He hopes to raise £4,000 to buy a sound cradle – a unique and beautiful musical instrument made from carefully selected layers of beech and birch veneer, precisely bonded together to create a semi-circular cradle shape – for the charity’s hospice in Milton.
It already has one at The Nook, where Jane works, but not at its Cambridgeshire hospice. The cradle can be laid, stood vertically to provide a ‘sound shower’ or turned upside down like a dome.
On each side are 18 strings, which are tuned to a monochord. When played, they resonate the entire instrument – a resonance felt intensely throughout the body, providing a sense of safety and containment.
“Jane has told me all about the power of music therapy,” said Steve, who lives in Holt.
“It’s not something I knew much about before but now, thanks to her, I have much more understanding. I had no idea how profound an impact it has on people and the sound cradle is an incredible, stunning piece of kit.
“Jane has been using it for two years and loves how versatile and inclusive it is, allowing a child to enjoy the experience but also allowing two people to enjoy being together – for instance a parent and child laying together in a warm ‘sound hug’.
“The sound is calming and accessible to everyone, making it a holistic experience embracing both physical and emotional feelings.”
Having already completed the RideLondon 100-mile event, Steve, 61, continues his fundraising mission with the Round Norfolk Epic on Sunday (11th June).
An eye-watering ride of 200 miles in a day around the border of Norfolk, he did it in 2021 in just under 16 hours and raised over £2,000. This time around he hopes to break 15 hours.
Next Saturday (17th June) he is taking on the Iceni Audax 200km, starting at Stoke Holy Cross before traversing the Suffolk border, heading West toward Breckland and then winding through rural Norfolk and along the North Norfolk coast.
Next up, on the first weekend in July (1st and 2nd), is the 120-mile Dunwich Dynamo – an overnight ride starting in east London on the Saturday evening and finishing on Dunwich Beach on Sunday morning.
Steve’s final mission is taking place on Saturday, 23rd September when he plans to cycle to all three EACH hospices. Starting at The Nook, he will head to The Treehouse, in Ipswich, to Milton and then back to Norfolk.
“This one is approximately 180 miles,” he said.
“I’m hoping to be joined by friends for all or part of the journey and it’s the big one, as far as I’m concerned, where I hope to raise the most funds.
“I’ve picked this date as it’s the Saturday of EACH’s Ride for Life event, which is a fantastic fundraiser. It’ll be great to see some fellow cyclists out on the road. I’ll also be doing some solo and group training rides on the other weekends.
“There are a few other events I’m considering but haven’t signed up for yet. These include the Black Shuck Sportive 100-miler, starting from Thursford, on 6th August.
“I’m also considering the Tour de Broads, another 100-mile event starting from Little Plumstead, on 20th August, and Insanity Sportive, which is 150 miles, starting from Whitlingham on 17th September.”
Steve, who runs his own ecommerce company, is no stranger to raising funds. As well as his previous efforts for EACH, he raised thousands for the Shooting Star Children’s Hospice, which supports families in Surrey and West London.
This was mainly from running four marathons on consecutive weekends in 2016, raising £8,500. He also cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats last year to raise funds for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.