Wednesday 20th January, 2021

Diane’s 4,000-mile journey home

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Diane’s 4,000-mile journey home

A local lady has completed a 4,000-mile cycling challenge that they started during the first lockdown in April 2020, to help raise funds for Romsey Mill, the Cambridge-based youth and children’s charity.

When the first Coronavirus lockdown was introduced in March 2020, Romsey Mill, like many other charities saw an immediate and significant fall in income, as many fundraising events could not take place, and other sources of revenue such as its Charity Shop on Mill Road, and Cara Coffee, its community café in Great Shelford were closed. Romsey Mill’s plans to mark its 40th Anniversary, having been established in 1980, were also cancelled.

In response to the situation, Diane Hicks, Romsey Mill’s Operations and Resources Manager, set herself a challenge of cycling 4,000 before the end of the year and a fundraising target of £4,000 to connect with Romsey Mill’s 40th Anniversary.

Speaking about her connection with Romsey Mill, Diane said:

“I have been involved with Romsey Mill since 1992, most recently through my current role, which I have had for 6 years now. It is a charity very close to my heart and my husband and both my children have also worked for 'the Mill'. Romsey Mill’s priority is to safeguard and support vulnerable and at-risk children, young people and families, and the Covid-19 crisis has brought about additional challenge for many who were already experiencing disadvantage in Cambridge, the UK’s most unequal city.”

Diane added:

“With the announcement of lockdown, the management team at Romsey Mill identified the immediate loss of the vital funds that we need to operate as a charity; and that a prolonged situation would put the charity at serious financial risk. I wanted to be able to do something positive about it, and came up with this cycling challenge.”

Speaking about the challenge that she had set for herself, Diane said:

“Why cycle 4000 miles? Well, the idea came to me in early April. I worked out that from 16th April, there would be 260 days left before the 31st December 2020. The figure of 4,000 neatly connected with Romsey Mill’s 40th years and worked out to be an average of 15.5 miles a day - which happens to be the distance of my normal combined journey to and from work at Romsey Mill.”

“Calling the challenge ‘4,000 miles from home’ reflected the fact that some of my journeys would be from home to work and back; but also that for many of those with whom we work, Romsey Mill is like a home for them. Where they know they will receive love, and support. A place of safety and belonging.”

Whilst many people cycle to and from work, for Diane, committing to this challenge was more complicated. She said:

”I am a severe asthmatic, so although 15 miles may not seem that far, it has been quite a feat for me. Particularly because I was not able to cycle every day, and had to make the miles up at weekends, holidays and over Christmas.”

Diane completed her 4,000th mile on 31st December, cycling to Romsey Mill Centre with her husband John, a companion on many of her journeys throughout the challenge.

In the process, Diane has raised over £4,400 for Romsey Mill ( www.justgiving.com/fundraising/diane-hicks2020) and completed a blog of her venture: (www.4000milesfromhome.org/)

 Diane said:

“I am so grateful for all the wonderful support I have received in the form of donations, encouragement and those who cycled with me over the last nine months. I now look beyond 4000 miles as I continue to cycle most days. My next challenge will probably be much further afield – virtually of course. I have always wanted to travel the world, so who knows where my miles will take me, but details will be on the blog very soon!”