David Heap - 39 years (youngest member of the team!)– Group Leisure and Spa Manager for QHotels - resides in Gloucester - husband to Ria - father of Jasmin Heap who has given us the inspiration to help two great Children’s Charities.
“March 1st 2011 was the worst day of my life - I lost my only child. My brave little Princess Jasmin May at the tender age of 12 to the terminal illness Sanfilippo Disease.
The best day of my life was October 2nd 1998, the day Jasmin was born. My wife Ria and I became first-time, very proud parents of a beautiful, seemingly healthy, baby girl; we had everything we had ever dreamed of.
Jasmin met all of her milestones until the age of three. She was walking, running, eating well and general a regular toddler but she was not communicating very well, and we thought maybe she was deaf. After visiting a paediatrician and many tests later, we were completely floored when Jasmin was diagnosed with a degenerative life-limiting syndrome. We were informed our precious baby girl wouldn’t live to her teenage years and we would gradually see her condition deteriorate in front of us. I am very proud to say that Jasmin was the most smiley, happiest, loving little girl anyone could wish for, and I am privileged that her 12 years were spent with us.
We have endured such heartbreak over the years watching our darling Jasmin lose her ability to speak, eat and walk, spending long periods of time in hospital, suffering with epilepsy, pneumonia and requiring constant medical attention as life became more and more fragile. With the great support of our families, friends and charities like Acorn’s Children’s Hospice we have managed to cope and provide Jasmin with the fulfilled life that she deserved.
Our daughter never showed pain, she was the bravest person that I have ever met, and when she lost the ability to speak she communicated with her eyes and the brightest smile that lit up the room. I can’t put into words how much we miss her.
I wanted to do something in her memory that would make a difference to other families’ lives, and have two of my great old school friends accompanying me on this adventure. Nothing can replace what we have lost, but I know that Jazzy will be with me every part of the journey supporting the three of us and helping us get through our venture. When I told my oldest friends, Tom and Rich, who I went to school with about my ambitions they immediately committed to join me without batting an eyelid. Please support generously and help us achieve our goal of raising £15,000.”Sponsor us today
Best friend Richard Bartley - 40 years young - Project Manager in Construction - used to be best mate to Dave and Tom - recently married to Suzanne, hence the photo.
I say used to as since we have started this monstrous challenge (not sure they realise it’s 900 miles) I feel that the time has now come for me to re-evaluate our friendships. I never usually shirk an adventure...but think it might be time to start !!! Only Joking guys!!
Well I guess the fact that I am writing this piece tells me I am in over my head... if only that bloody Graham hadn’t been so generous with time and effort to drive the back-up van - I’d of got out of the cycling no bother !!!
Seriously I am delighted to be part of this Charity Ride. I am with two of my best friend’s, as good a pair of friend that anyone could wish for, so they tell me. I know only a little of the pain and heartache that Dave and Maria have experienced over the last year. Before that they experienced years of great pleasure with Jasmine which they have both always shown and this has to have been Dave and Maria’s biggest form of motivation ever. They gave Jasmin as good a life as possible and I know that was returned with the biggest of smiles by Jas.
The strength this couple have shown is truly amazing. I work in the really tough construction industry... know many tough guys... but I don’t think any of them have half the heart and toughness that Dave has shown and this was typified by his speech at Jazz’s send off. To be able to present to his family and friends with a speech that showed all emotions, even humour, shows how much love was there for Jasmine and how strong a guy he is.
I do know that if he’d asked me to ride to the North Pole I’d try for him. (hope that’s not next on the agenda !!!) Hope you can all do everything possible to assist us with this challenge and give generously.
We are supporting the Acorn’s Children’s Charity in Worcester which provided Dave and Maria with fantastic support over many years and also Alder Hey Children’s Hospital which also provides great support to many when they need it most.
We will try to keep you all up to speed with our training, as you can see there is plenty of that ahead for all three of us. The website should of been called “three fatties on their bikes” or something like that, but it wouldn’t of meant anything by the time the three racing snakes turn up on 4th May 2012 to start this challenge!”Sponsor us today
Best friend Tom Appleby - 40 years old - Construction Director for Grantreel Construction - best friend to Dave - father of Erin and Jack - husband to Anne-Marie.
“To support Dave in this adventure will be an honour and a privilege in memory of Jasmin. Fortunately for Anne-Marie and myself we have been blessed with two wonderful children Erin and Jack. Erin has been born with a Heart condition and is currently being monitored and well looked after by the team at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool. We attend for regular appointments whilst they closely monitor her condition and despite the surroundings Erin feels welcome and at ease each time. When Dave mentioned this ride as he says, I had no qualms about joining him, whilst we have our own situation with Erin the strength of character Dave and Maria have shown over the last twelve months is nothing short of remarkable.
I have met many people to date in my life but very few who can rival Dave and Maria for an inner strength to battle through life. They both have some truly treasured moments that I hope will never ever leave them and I am positive that Jasmin is now watching over them as proud of them as they are of her. I hope that achieving this ride will bring both comfort and joy to many people who will be associated with it and benefit from it. Thank you for your support.”
Graham Craddock - 70 years but fitter than the three above - been in farming and haulage all my life and still not fully retired - known Tom since he was born - my, how he has grown!
Being a life-long friend of the Appleby family I was thrilled to be involved with this worthwhile charity fundraiser. I have been connected to road haulage for 30 years therefore the logistics appealed to me and I knew that I could help the team out with a back up vehicle and support. I am now on a crash course in map reading and attempting to use the sat nav and going to night school to learn the skills of high speed puncture repairs! On a more serious note I am very pleased to have secured offers of donations from Malpas Vintage Tractor Run, which is to be held in April and Malpas Masonic Lodge. I shall be hosting my 70th birthday bash also in April where I shall be appealing to my guests to dig deep into their pockets for donations in lieu of presents.