BARRY cyclists on a mission to assist a children’s hospital have notched up more than £2000 on a journey that was longer than expected.
Two Barry dads, Joshua Bell and Nino Zeraschi had together with six other men envisaged a 127-mile bike ride from Carmarthen, West Wales to the Children’s Hospital for Wales to raise money for the Noah’s Ark Appeal, but before they set out discovered it had gone wrong in the map planning and the distance actually totalled 137 miles.
The team, dubbed the Oceans8 for their support of the Ocean ward, also became the Oceans9 as Nino’s brother, Gianni, 30, decided to join in the two-day challenge, minus any training, four days before the off in May.
Both Joshua and Nino’s children - son Ralphy and baby daughter Olivia were cared for on the Children’s Hospital for Wales’ Ocean ward.
The duo were also joined by Richard Platts, 42, and Matthew Sewell, 33, Luke Bell, 22, Joshua Sewell, 23, Michael Blackmore, 34, and Andrew Derrick, 49.
25-year-old Joshua Bell’s then sixth-month-old son Ralphy was rushed to the Cardiff hospital in October last year and later diagnosed as having meningo encephalitis, and very close to death. Without, the staff, he said Ralphy would not be here.
34-year-old Nino’s then 11-month-old daughter Olivia was admitted the hospital in November three years ago following a fit and was diagnosed with generalised epilepsy.
Josh said: “The start was horrendous with many hills. The bike ride was tough, but really enjoyable. We had a good laugh on the way. At the end everyone was there and it was great to see the family and the welcome we got.”
Nino said: “We had an endless supply of squash, lollies and jelly beans. The team spirit was amazing – everyone helped each other.”
Richard added: “I very much enjoyed it - the team of boys made a superb effort and we all feel a great sense of achievement. It was lovely to ride into the children’s hospital and be welcomed by the staff and children. It made it a very special finish. The low point was the hill at Solva, West Wales.”
The team effort was supported by Holiday Inn Cardiff City, general manager Richard Platts, and Beespoke Cycles, High Street, Barry, and Wicks car and van hire in Bridgend..
They welcome further support for this, in the hope of raising up to £4000, and future fundraising efforts for the same cause.
To support the team via Twitter on @oceanwardcycle, email firstname.lastname@example.org and visit Marco’s Cafe, Barry Island, where collecting tins are available.
To donate online, visit http:/uk.virginmoneygiving.com/antoninozeraschi or http://virginmoneygiving.com/team/OceanWard