Cycling friends Gillian Lawrence and Vicky Brayne are celebrating winning free entry to a charity Cycle Challenge from Hope House children’s hospice, near Oswestry, to Lake Vyrnwy.

Gillian, from Whittington, near Oswestry, won a Facebook competition to join more than 100 riders in the Hope House Cycle Challenge on 11th August. The challenge offers options to journey the 56-mile route to Lake Vyrnwy, or the 70-mile route to Lake Bala. Gillian and Vicky will be taking on the trip to Lake Vyrnwy.

Gillian has joined the cycle from Hope House to Lake Vyrnwy before, whereas friend Vicky says this will be her first time, though she’s previously helped out as a volunteer.

The pair are nervous but excited to take on the challenge which boasts beautiful views, a friendly atmosphere and some challenging climbs along the way.

Gillian and Vicky are both retired and regularly meet for 30-mile bike rides. They enjoy stopping off for tea and cake as part of their adventures. Their favourite places are the Potting Shed at Brook House Farm, near Shrewsbury, and Whittington Castle’s Kitchen at the Castle.

“I’m a bit apprehensive about a longer bike ride,” admits Vicky. “It’s a bit up and down, though around Lake Vyrnwy itself its quite flat. Blodwel Bank is a bit of a killer. Though, I know from volunteering what a lovely atmosphere the Cycle Challenge has. It’s not a race, so if we end up walking a bit up the hill towards the end then that’s ok. We’ll support each other and there are lots of nice stops and food and drink along the way.”

Vicky needn’t be too worried about her fitness, as she’s also signed up for a triathlon this month.

“I’ve got lots of challenges that I want to complete before I’m 60,” she says. “So the Cycle Challenge can be another one to add to my list. If we hadn’t won we might have entered anyway so we’ve agreed to put the entry fee we’ve saved towards sponsorship for Hope House.”

Fundraiser Bekki Fardoe congratulated Gillian and Vicky on their competition win.

She said: “Well done to Gillian for entering our competition to say where your favourite place to cycle is, and who your best biking buddy would be. Congratulations!

“For those not lucky enough to have won tickets, we still have places available and there’s time to sign up for your Early Bird ticket price of £27.50 for everyone who register by 14th July. After that, the price will be £35 both online and on the day. Cyclists are provided with refreshments at our halfway feed station and treated to a delicious afternoon tea upon return to Hope House. All entrants will receive a goodie bag which includes a specially-designed Hope House water bottle sponsored by RUKGroup. It’s a lovely day where every penny raised cares for and support local families. So please sign up today!”

Sign up for Early Bird registration today at