MEMBERS of staff at Helen & Douglas House are going above and beyond the call of duty for the East Oxford hospice.

The “Douglas Divas” will cycle 300 miles from London to Paris for the children’s hospice, which helps terminally ill children and their families.

Volunteers, managers and nurses are taking on the challenge and hope to raise £8,700 for the hospice with £4,936 raised so far.

They will take part in the Sunflower Cycle – which raises cash for hospices – from Wednesday, July 2 to Sunday, July 6.

They are clinical volunteer co-ordinator Kate Barklie, carer Jane Channon, nurses Gill Mabbutt and Lucie Meyer, art room volunteer Cie Barklie and senior trusts fundraising manager Tim Wraith.

Mr Wraith, 47, from Headington said: “As a fundraiser I see very closely where the money goes and the difference it makes. The added incentive is that every mile we pedal we do something good for those who can’t pedal.”

Ms Barklie’s daughter Natalie was cared for by Helen House in 1985. She died, aged five, in 1989 because of a life- shortening condition.

Ms Barklie, 55, said: “In the past some of us have taken on other fundraising challenges, including marathons, a parachute jump, and 26 mile walks but this is by far the most challenging. I did not even have a bicycle before I signed up.”

The Abingdon resident said: “We know from experience how important the work we do is for the children, young adults and families who visit the hospices.

“We have all been touched in so many ways meeting all the lovely people and children who visit us.”

Southmoor resident Ms Channon, 54, added: “We see every day how much it helps families and young people.

“It’s about that precious window of opportunity, when someone is feeling better, or out of pain for that small length of time and we can quickly do something; go to town, go to McDonald’s, build a snowman, have a quiz night. I think the families love it when you are involved in fundraising. It’s part of continuing to care for that family.”

To take part in the challenge, each cyclist must raise £1,450 and they have hosted various events.

To support the Douglas Divas and donate visit\ Douglas-Divas1

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