Cumbria Crack

Back in the saddle again for St John’s Hospice

Simon Edgecombe

[A] medical practitioner from Kendal is back in the saddle and currently riding almost 1,000 miles from John O’Groats to Lands End.

Raising much-needed funds for his employer, St John’s Hospice, donning the Lycra has been somewhat bittersweet for Medical Director, Simon Edgecombe.

Just five years ago, during training for the very same charity cycle ride, Simon, then aged 49, suffered a heart attack and underwent a procedure in hospital in Blackpool.

A frustratingly long recovery followed including further spells in and out of hospital, which saw the dad-of-three fearing he would never ride a bike again.

“It came out of the blue,” said Simon. “At the time I was working long hours as a GP so my exercise time was squeezed as my working day lengthened. I was pushing myself too hard trying to fit my training in at weekends after doing very little during the week. Suddenly, I went from being the bloke excitedly training in his 40s to the one lying in a hospital bed with a drip in his arm. “

“For six and a half months after the heart attack, if I walked too fast or up a slope, I’d get chest pain,” he added. “It took time but gradually I got myself back into it, and I reached a point where I had the confidence in my physical fitness and my cardiovascular system again. The ride was always in the back of my mind like an itch I needed to scratch, and anyway, I’m doing it from North to South so I’m told you just cycle onto the headland at John O’Groats and coast your way down! Nothing to it!”

Simon is covering the route over a fortnight encompassing 14 back-to-back 70-mile cycling days. He will be calling in on family at home in Kendal en route and is due to stop off at St John’s Hospice in between the other minor events of the Royal Wedding and the FA Cup Final this Saturday 19th May.

“Somewhat aptly, reaching St John’s will pretty much be half way through the ride – Carnforth just a few miles up the road is the exact half way point of my route,” said Simon. “I’ll be aiming firstly to get there in a state where I won’t need admitting for pain, breathlessness and pressure area problems and secondly, before the café closes for some homemade cake!”

“My work at St John’s has brought me into contact with lots of patients, each with their own unique story. Their common ground is that life is short and I’m privileged and proud to be part of a great team that gets to help those patients and take part in events like this to continue to support that work.”

You can follow Simon’s journey on his daily blog and to sponsor him to help support the work of St John’s Hospice, visit

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