A local man is preparing to take on a cross-country cycling challenge to raise funds for local cancer services and mark the anniversary of losing his wife to cancer.

Andrew Sudlow from St Martins will set off for the Coast to Coast Cycling Challenge on Monday, 16th October. He is delighted to have already raised £1270 for Lingen Davies Cancer Fund that exists to ensure local people can access excellent cancer services locally.

The keen cyclist has already taken on several challenges for charity and is completing this one alone. He will be riding in memory of his wife Lorraine who passed away aged 59 in November 2022. Andrew also lost his parents and brother to cancer.

He said they had no idea about his wife’s illness until she was rushed to hospital and given a diagnosis of stage four breast cancer in April 2019.

“We had no idea anything was wrong, Lorraine went regularly for checkups and she’d had a recent one. She was all clear, and then one day she fell sick. I rushed her to hospital and the diagnosis after numerous tests was she had breast cancer and it had already spread to her bones.

“It was stage four, terminal cancer and she was on Ward 23 for a time. We were fortunate that Lorraine was given immunotherapy and responded very well. We actually had four years together after that, longer than expected when we were given the news and were told her cancer was an aggressive form.

“Everything was going really well until July 2022 and she fell. We didn’t know if she had had a stroke but it was a brain tumour,” he said.

Andrew, who retired from the military and works in facilities management, said he spent a large part of his retirement caring from Lorraine along with their two sons and daughter.

“It’s coming up to the first anniversary of Lorraine’s passing and I just wanted to do something to mark it. Lingen Davies has been amazing, everyone tries so hard to help over there. It’s like a machine, people are in and out every day but you never felt like that, we had so much extra time together because of what they did. People always want more but we really must be grateful for what we have,” he added.

The Coast to Coast has always been on Andrew’s bucket list and he will leave Whitehaven to complete the 147-mile route across to Tynemouth.

“It will be a challenge for me,” he said.

“There’s lots of elevation, I spend two days going uphill and one a little easier returning to sea level to Tynemouth. It’s a 147-mile route and the most I’ve done so far is about 50 miles out and about.

“A positive mindset always helps me, it’s very important. A lot has happened in the last few years, I lost Lorraine, my nephew also has a brain tumour, and I lost my mum, dad and brother to cancer recently. My father was rushed into hospital in June 2018 and had bowel cancer. Then in February 2019 my brother Paul had exactly the same thing. Then Lorraine was diagnosed in April 2019.

“I have three children and five grandchildren who keep me going,” he said.

Laura Morris, from Lingen Davies, said everyone at the charity would be wishing Andrew well with his trip.

“We are so fortunate to have so many brilliant supporters in our community. Andrew is taking on this challenge for incredibly personal reasons and we wish him all the very best with it, we’ll be cheering him on and following his progress,” she said.

To support Andrew’s challenge visit his Just Giving page: Andrew Sudlow is fundraising for Lingen Davies Cancer Fund (justgiving.com)

For further information on the charity visit the website www.lingendavies.co.uk