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John Gilbert

John's 175 Mile Hospice Cycle Challenge at 91

Challenge complete

Fundraising for this challenge has ended so we're no longer accepting donations. Thanks to everyone who supported this challenge.

Total raised so far £0.00

Target £0.00

Total plus Gift Aid: £0.00

Raised offline: £0.00

My story

[p][b]THANK YOU UNITED KINGDOM![/b][/p][p]I want to thank all who have donated so far ..... family, friends and even complete strangers. Your generosity has exceeded all my expectations and the total so far is staggering, almost £5,000 with Gift Aid. [/p][p]I have been in touch with more of my friends and neighbours in the last 6 months than in the previous 30 years! [/p][p]As a refugee saying thank you to the UK, I had hoped a larger number of like-minded refugees would follow my lead though I fully acknowledge the great contributions that refugees have made to our adopted homeland here in the UK.[/p][p]The staff at my two wonderful charities, Hospice UK and The Hospice Biographers have been heroes during this pandemic and I am still hopeful for a late surge of donations to enable their amazing work to continue.[/p][p]***Chequered flag and the finish line! Thank you everyone for the fantastic support and the amazing sum raised by your donations. I really am very grateful and thank you all from the bottom of my heart***[/p][p][b]***Just the last 10 miles now and thank heavens it's downhill all the way!***[/b][/p][p][b]***Watch out London - here I come! Please keep supporting me to the end....[/b][/p][p]Yellow jersey day today. Just beyond Peterborough, starving and with around 50 miles still to complete....[/p][p][b]***Over half way there - 82 miles to go! Just hope it’s downhill all the way! Thank you so much for your continuing support***[/b][/p][p]Memory kicking in now - it was most likely Bourne, a small town on the old North Road/A1 where I enjoyed the generous portion of chips plus a free large glass of water for a shilling. It was 1am by the time I finally made it home to Russel Square, London and by then, I was starving again![/p][p]***[b]60m down, only 115m to go! Thank you for all your support ***[/b][/p][p]I am John Gilbert, a 91-year-old fit great grandfather with a loving extended family of seventeen.[/p][p]I have always wanted to show my appreciation to the UK, the country that has given me so much and, for many years, I have wondered how to do this. Now Captain, soon to be Sir Tom Moore has provided my inspiration with his incredible effort for the NHS. The Hospice movement too needs our support in these difficult times so, to show my thanks and gratitude to the UK, I want to raise as much money as possible for Hospice UK, the national charity for hospice and palliative care, with 25% of total donations going to The Hospice Biographers charity. The weblinks below show the wonderful work these charities do.[/p][p][b]My Goal:[/b][/p][p]To recreate the final day of a fantastic trip with two school pals in 1948. Together we cycled over 1000 miles on a round-trip expedition from London to Portrush in Northern Ireland.[/p][p]Using an indoor pedal exerciser, I will cycle 175 miles, the distance from Doncaster to Central London. Back then it took 17 hours. It might take a little longer now, but I am incredibly determined and I’m certain that, with the help of your donations, I will reach my goal.[/p][p][img]https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/pw/ACtC-3dv06YasRwa6kNv2Jr0-bNbc1qyNXMkyaFywA1CEZW7S8yZiEV807O2K2e7iLIEc4o39riqnCnCGC1VoBvNS8_lHsN1uoEzo4WwrT6EkiVnfJmtp2GMeZ4uvhfvzkFz6D5YbEOPKQzbE-F8fX9fU5Rg=w1254-h427-no?authuser=0[/img]72 years ago, the motivation was that I had nearly run out of money and needed to get home or I would starve!![/p][p]With only a Shilling left (5p in today’s money), I stopped at a fish and chip shop along the old A1 road and wolfed down a large portion of chips and several glasses of water, before setting off again.[/p][p]On arrival home at 1.00am, unsurprisingly perhaps, I stuffed myself with as much food as I could handle![/p][p]Please donate as much as you can – if only so I can continue to bore my family and friends senseless about my exploits then, as well as again now!!![/p][p]Here is my story:[/p][p]I have always believed that I have been lucky in life.[/p][p]I arrived in the UK aged 9 in March 1939 with my mother. We were penniless refugees, having been forced to flee Hitler’s Vienna because my father and I were Jewish. My mother, a Catholic, had secured UK Visas for us after weeks of determined visits to the British Embassy. As a child, I attended Synagogue on Saturdays and during the week, a Convent primary school.[/p][p]Eventually, my father was able to join us and my parents found work as domestic servants with the Cadbury Byers family in Risby, Suffolk. Just before the war began, Mum persuaded Dad that I should be baptised at the local Anglican church and Mrs Byers became my godmother.[/p][p]Aged 10, I was evacuated to Camborne in Cornwall, Poldark Country. For the next 6 years, I was brought up by a wonderful Methodist couple, Mr and Mrs Blamey. They arranged for me to go to Redruth Grammar School where I received a wonderful education. When I returned to London, it was to the 6th form at Quintin Hogg Regent St Polytechnic where I was awarded an LCC County Scholarship. Later, I graduated from Hull University with a BSc (Econ) degree. Not bad for a poor refugee boy![/p][p]In 1949, my family became British Citizens. This was also the year I met my Pam, a proud Scouser with whom I shared 66 wonderful years of marriage until her sudden death, just five months ago. Together we built a successful family catering equipment business, another industry now very badly hit by this pandemic….. [/p][p]I owe my whole life to the UK people who are probably the most tolerant nation in the world. I am aware too, of the many fellow former refugees and immigrants who have contributed greatly to the wellbeing of the UK, none more so than those working in the NHS, Hospices, Care Homes and as carers. Indeed, many have given their lives .......[/p][p]I would like to appeal to the many millions of likeminded former refugees, immigrants, and their families who also love the UK and ask them to show their sincere gratitude to the land that has given them a new life and provided such incredible opportunities.[/p][p]I hope all fellow former refugees and immigrants will support this cause, wherever their origins and whatever their faith. [/p][p]Photo 1. Johns's family on holiday in the Peak District. Photo 2. John starts his 175m cycling venture. Photo 3. John participates in the weekly family lockdown cooking lesson learning French Mille-Feuille. Photo 4. 1949 Teenage Pam & John at Hull University. Photo 5. 1945 Mr & Mrs. Blamey adoptive parents. Photo 6. John's parents Mutti and Papa in Vienna 1936[/p][p]HOSPICE UK - [url=https://www.hospiceuk.org/]https://www.hospiceuk.org/[/url][/p][p]The HOSPICE BIOGRAPHERS - [url=https://www.thehospicebiographers.com/]https://www.thehospicebiographers.com/[/url] Also see an endorsement from the Prime Minister's office at [url=https://www.pointsoflight.gov.uk/the-hospice-biographers/]https://www.pointsoflight.gov.uk/the-hospice-biographers/[/url][/p][p]The Hospice Biographers’ contribution during Covid is to unite grandparents with their grandchildren over the phone for recorded heartwarming conversations. If you are interested in participating please contact [url=http://mailto:barbara@thehospicebiographers.com]barbara@thehospicebiographers.com[/url] [/p]
John's 175 Mile Hospice Cycle Challenge at 91 image 1
John's 175 Mile Hospice Cycle Challenge at 91 image 2
John's 175 Mile Hospice Cycle Challenge at 91 image 3
John's 175 Mile Hospice Cycle Challenge at 91 image 4
John's 175 Mile Hospice Cycle Challenge at 91 image 5
John's 175 Mile Hospice Cycle Challenge at 91 image 6

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Personal Challenge Date

15 Jun 2020


Oct 29, 2020

Tonia Sorrell

£10.00 plus £2.50 Gift Aid

Oct 28, 2020


£15.00 plus £3.75 Gift Aid

Oct 27, 2020

Georgie Gateshill

Well done John! From The Gateshills

£15.00 plus £3.75 Gift Aid

Oct 27, 2020

Richard Sheree Amelia and Marcus

Well done Dad - great achievement. This donation should put you over the £4,000 mark and help on the way to the £5,000 target - now that you have reached the finish line.

£25.00 plus £6.25 Gift Aid

Oct 26, 2020


Well done John

£15.00 plus £3.75 Gift Aid

Oct 26, 2020

David Campion

Well done John

£15.00 plus £3.75 Gift Aid

Oct 26, 2020


Great job Thanks for doing that

£15.00 plus £3.75 Gift Aid

Oct 26, 2020

Nikki Gillyon

Well done John 👍🏻. You’ve done amazing 😉 Nikki, Carl, Ben and Bethany x

£10.00 plus £2.50 Gift Aid

Oct 12, 2020

Alison T

Fantastic achievement, from Alison T care of Hilary xx

£10.00 plus £2.50 Gift Aid

Oct 8, 2020

Janet Beecher

Well done John! You're an inspiration! Every good wish to you. Love n hugs, Janet x.

£10.00 plus £2.50 Gift Aid