A super-slimmer from Southern is tackling an epic cycle ride in aid of a West Sussex hospice after losing nearly half his body weight in a year.
Govia Thameslink Railway worker Andy Turner will be cycling from London to Paris, starting on July 24, covering more than 300 miles over four days. He is hoping to raise £2,500 for Crawley-based St Catherine’s Hospice and has already received more than £2,000 in donations.
Andy wanted to support the hospice after his massive weight lost in 2015 dramatically changed his life, making him feel “so much fitter.” The father-of-two was nearly 30 stone when he joined a weight-loss support group and managed to lose more than 13 stone in a year.
The 45-year-old Fleet Planning manager, who lives in Horsham, said: “Since losing the weight, I have tried to use my new-found fitness to help good causes. This ride will be my next challenge. I chose St Catherine’s as I have experienced their care first hand when I had treatment for lymphoedema. I also know many people who have experienced their incredible care of friends and loved ones coming to the ends of their lives.”
Lymphoedema is a condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissues, usually the arms or legs. It develops when the lymphatic system, a network of channels and glands, doesn't work properly. Andy developed lymphoedema after he broke his ankle about 11 years and ended up with an infection and cellulitis.
Andy, who works at the Rail Operating Centre near Three Bridges station, said: “If it flared up, it would cause cellulitis to flare up and I would end up in hospital on a drip. It was like having a fever. It wasn’t until I was referred to St Catherine’s that anything got any better. My weight loss helped it get better, but the care I got from St Catherine’s was fantastic.”
Andy, who became a consultant for a weight loss group at St Leonard’s Church in Horsham last year, is well prepared for the challenge. He has been cycling between 20 to 30 miles a day and recently cycled a 115-mile route.
In the past he has raised money for the British Heart Foundation and Brain Tumour Research by taking on cycle challenges.
Michaela Clements, Events Fundraiser at St Catherine’s Hospice, said: “We’re thrilled that Andy’s chosen to support our hospice. And wish him the best of luck in his incredible cycling challenge. Andy’s story is really inspiring, and we’re grateful that he’s raising money for us.”
Michaela added: “As a local charity we rely on people like Andy. His efforts will make a huge difference to local terminally ill people at one of the most difficult times of their lives. At the moment, St Catherine’s can only care for one in three people who need our expert support. But thanks to people like Andy supporting us, in the future we hope to be there for everyone.”
St Catherine’s vision is for a world where everyone facing death and bereavement can do so informed, supported and pain free. Their team of experts are there for people in West Sussex and East Surrey when they need support the most, and they rely on donations to be able to offer their pioneering care.
GTR’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager Katherine Cox said: “Andy is an inspiration, from his dramatic weight loss to his incredible fundraising efforts. We wish him the best of luck in his London to Paris cycle ride, which is for such a worthwhile cause.”
To donate, visit https://justgiving.com/fundraising/andyturnerslimmingworld
Govia Thameslink Railway
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:
- Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
- Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
- Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
- Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria