Cycling 400 miles in memory of baby Beatrice

January 29 2019
Cycling 400 miles in memory of baby Beatrice

A COALPIT Heath woman is taking on a gruelling challenge to raise £10,000 in memory of her friend’s baby daughter.

Emma Steele aims to cycle over 400 miles in just three days as she travels from Bristol to Edinburgh.

She is doing it to raise £10,000 for stillbirth and neonatal death charity SANDS.

Last July Emma’s childhood friend Zoe Fyffe and her husband Rory were devastated to be told that their baby girl had died three days before her due date. Zoe gave birth to her stillborn and the couple named her Beatrice.

Emma said: “I didn’t know what to say or do because nothing could make this better.”

Zoe, who grew up in Coalpit Heath, said: “Since the day I found out at over 39 weeks pregnant that my baby wouldn’t be coming home, SANDS have been there for me and my family. They provided equipment for a specialist delivery suite. Their trained staff cared for us, their skill and compassion made Beatrice’s birth a memory I treasure.

They gave us the information and support we needed to arrange Beatrice’s post mortem and funeral, and provided kits to take casts of her hand and footprints that we will keep forever.”

Before Beatrice was born, Emma had already bought her first road bike, which she was initially unable to ride. With help from people at a Fitquest local cycling club, she gradually built up her mileage until in August last year she cycled 70 miles.

Emma said: “(It was) an achievement I was proud of and I was further aiming to achieve my first 100 mile bike ride in 2019.

But since nothing could be harder than what my friends and their family have gone through, I knew I had more to give than that.”

Emma (above right) decided to set herself a far tougher challenge, and decided to ride to Scotland, where Zoe now lives. She found a friend through the cycling club, Helen Jackson, who agreed to tackle the challenge with her. Helen (above left) has three boys, and had had a scare with one of her pregnancies, so Zoe’s experience hit home.

The bike ride will mean cycling for 140 miles each day for three days, with little time for breaks. Cycling club members have already helped by organising practice rides, and by offering information about training, nutrition and bike maintenance. Some of them will now join the women to support them for sections of the ride.

Emma said: “The aim of the bike ride is to encourage open conversations and to provide the necessary support that SANDS did for my friends during an immensely difficult time.

We are calling it Beatrice’s Bike Ride, because she will never be forgotten.”

The ride takes place from May 17 to 19. A fundraising quiz will be held at the start and Emma is asking local businesses to get in touch if they can offer a raffle prize via Beatricesbikeride@gmail.com.

Zoe said: “The donations and awareness raised by Beatrice’s Bike Ride will help families on this terrible journey, and help more families bring their babies home.”

For more information and to donate visit bit.ly/2AX0SyN online or email Emma at the address above.