Cyclists Conquer Welsh Hills in Charity Ride, Raising Funds for The Joshua Tree

On April 28th, 2024, a remarkable total of 130 cyclists embarked on a 62-mile charity cycle ride through the Welsh hills, starting from Betws-y-Coed. The event, organised by John Clayton from the TiM Castell Fundraising group—a North Wales-based movement dedicated to raising money for local and national charities through cycling events—proved to be an inspiring and successful day.

The "Ffestiniog 360" is a non-competitive, not-for-profit cycle ride that traces its origins to the late Len Wilcox, an incredible fundraiser who initiated this event many years ago. The ride aims to provide a safe and enjoyable experience while raising funds for The Joshua Tree Children's Cancer Charity or any other charity chosen by the riders. Cyclists had the chance to connect, enjoy stunning landscapes, and make a positive impact on the lives of those in need.

Starting at the Memorial Hall in Pentre Felin, Betws-y-Coed, the route took cyclists through Bethesda, Pentir, Llyn Padarn, Beddgelert, Llanfrothen, and Blaenau Ffestiniog, before circling back to Betws-y-Coed. The event highlighted the vital role of community support in fundraising. Local businesses eagerly helped with the hosting of the event, and a dedicated mix of friends and community volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure everything ran smoothly.

Dan from WE Cycles was instrumental in fixing bikes and helping cyclists get started, while Gareth, the owner of WE Cycles, not only donated his services but also participated in the ride. The motorcycle team, composed of experienced first aid-trained riders, provided crucial support assisting several cyclists.

Llanfrothen Café was selected due to the enthusiasm and support of its new young owner, Leonie Hughes. She put on six extra staff and donated 250 bottles of water. Leonie was highly complementary of the cyclists, and we hope they will reward her by visiting again.  Our volunteers, Bron and Jan, were also there, handing out water and fruit.

Jo Goddard, a rider, commented on the event, saying, "The buzz in the atmosphere, the sunny weather, the great route displaying the North Wales scenery at its best. Everyone was so friendly and what a great worthwhile cause!"

The astonishing support for the event underscores the community aspect of fundraising. At its core, the event aimed to raise vital funds for The Joshua Tree, a unique charity dedicated to ensuring every family affected by childhood cancer receives the emotional well-being and mental health support they need, including parents, siblings, extended family members, and friends.

Richard Driffield, Chief Executive at The Joshua Tree, stated: “For many children, their loved ones, and support networks, the end of cancer treatment does not mean a simple return to normal life. The support we provide is wide and varied, depending on each family’s unique needs, because there is no end-point to the after-effects of childhood cancer. We know that children are at different stages of their cancer journeys—it all takes a big emotional toll. Some have just been diagnosed, while others may have ‘rung the bell’ to signal the end of treatment many years ago. While it is a monumental milestone to finish cancer treatment, the emotional impact, the healing, and the processing of what has happened do not end there.”

The charity is working tirelessly to raise funds to expand its services—such as counselling, sibling support, and family activity sessions—into new areas across the North-West of England and North Wales.

The Ffestiniog 360 is one of many community-hosted events that raise essential funds for The Joshua Tree. Through sign-up fees, bucket collections, and on-the-day donations, a total of £5,600 was raised and will go directly towards supporting families. Take part next year and join the community of cyclists supporting worthy charities.

A huge thank you to John Clayton from the TiM Castell Fundraising Group. Your selfless dedication to helping others is truly admirable. John and The Joshua Tree extend their heartfelt gratitude to all the volunteers and riders who took part.

Also very special thanks to the event sponsors who donated considerable funds towards the event to make it possible. Thank you Jo Goddard from Just Imagine Interiors and Brad Farrell from Crime Prevention Services.

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Thank you for your incredible support!