Holly swaps pole vault for charity bike ride

Olympian Holly Bleasdale may be more used to the dizzy heights of the pole vault…but she will be taking to two wheels to raise money for St Catherine’s Hospice.

Holly, 20, who grew up in Euxton, will be joining her fiance Paul Bradshaw on a 30-mile bike ride next month from the finish line of the Liverpool marathon back home to Leyland.

Paul, 24, who proposed to Holly just hours after her performance at the London 2012 Olympics, will do the cycle ride after also completing the 26.2 mile marathon.

Paul, who teaches in the sports department at Leyland’s Runshaw College, wanted to raise money for St Catherine’s as his grandmother Renee Bradshaw was cared for there during her battle with cancer.

Paul represented Great Britain in the 800m at the European Under 23s Championships in 2009.

He said: “I was only six at the time but I remember going to visit my grandma at St Catherine’s and have strong memories of what a happy place it was.

“She was in the hospice for about three weeks before she died and my granddad and my dad both really rate the hospice highly.

“I think sometimes people have misconceptions that it might be a bleak or depressing place but that is so far from the truth.”

The challenge will see Holly out of her comfort zone as she is more used to sports which require powerful short sharp bursts of energy rather than sustained endurance.

Holly, who is the current British women’s record holder for pole vault, said: “With pole vaulting, you never have to run further than 40m, so I am not used to testing my endurance.

“But it is for such a good cause and I know what a special place St Catherine’s Hospice is, not only to Paul and his family, but to the whole community.

“My granddad Dave Woodyet works for the hospice’s bookshop in Chorley so he was really happy when he found out who I was cycling for.”

Norman Cutler, senior fund raiser at St Catherine’s, said: “We are extremely grateful for the Olympic effort they are making for St Catherine’s.

“The money they raise will help us continue to be there for patients and their families when it matters most.”

The cycle challenge will take place on October 14.


Holly Bleasdale
Holly Bleasdale

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