A group of energetic cyclists completed the 90-mile trip from the Horton Hospital to Southampton in memory of a poorly twin who died around a year ago.
Stacy Howarth and Karl Aran lost their son, Matthew, two days after he was born with birth complications. His twin, Daniel, survived.
Matthew died on July 30 last year after contracting TAPVD (Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Drainage). He needed heart surgery which only Southampton General could provide.
He was transferred from Horton Hospital but in spite of everyone’s best efforts, Matthew died. Miss Howarth and Daniel were able to return to the Horton to receive support from the SCBU.
Now, a year on, Matthew’s parents and friends have cycled from the Horton to Southampton, raising more than £5,000 for both hospitals.
Miss Howarth said: “We left Banbury on Saturday at 8.30am being waved off by friends, family and our other two boys, Lewis and Daniel.
“The ride started well and we hit the lunch stop at 45 miles at 12.15pm. This is where the hills began to get very steep and long! I had to stop at 45 miles due to medical problems and having an operation on Thursday.
“The other seven cyclists kept going and did an amazing job, especially Matthew’s aunt, Jasmin.
“After a few more daunting hills and 42 miles we made it to the last stop to regroup. I jumped back on the bike and we all rode the last five miles as a group to the general hospital.
“It was an emotional arrival – relief from making the journey and knowing this was the last place we saw Matthew. We had friends and family waiting for us at Southampton who were all cheering as we crossed the finish line. The total distance was 92 miles of gruelling hills but amazing countryside and views.
“My father, Graham, did an amazing job of being our support van. Ready at every stop with refreshments and essentials and encouragement along the way. My mum, Tracy, rode the way on a motorcycle behind the last cyclist, keeping us safe and giving us encouragement the whole way.
“Matthew was with us the whole day in our hearts and minds and giving us that extra push when we needed it. A great day completing a challenge in his memory and raising so much money for the hospital units that make such a difference to so many people.”