Kettering man to pedal to Paris on Victorian bike

Jason Haynes and Melissa Gurr will cycle from London to Paris to raise funds for a new bereavement suite planned for KGH's maternity wing.
Jason Haynes and Melissa Gurr will cycle from London to Paris to raise funds for a new bereavement suite planned for KGH's maternity wing.

A Victorian-era bicycle may not be the most conventional mode of transport to use to get to Paris but one man is hoping it will help him to raise hundreds of pounds for a new maternity bereavement suite.

Jason Haynes can often be seen out and about on his Pedersen and for his latest challenge, he will cycle 385 miles from London to Paris dressed in traditional tweed, accompanied by his colleague Melissa Burr.

He is hoping their unusual adventure will help them raise a significant amount for the new unit being planned for Kettering General Hospital, which will provide somewhere for women who have lost a baby to recover away from the main maternity wards.

Mr Haynes, a laboratory assistant in the pathology lab, has been volunteering twice a week for the hospital's fundraising department for 12 months and has been raising money for KGH for several years prior to that.

He and Melissa, who is a Sister on the labour ward, are part of a group of seven who are all riding out to Paris to raise money for different causes for the hospital.

Starting from Crystal Palace, the group is planning to make it to Paris in four days, although Mr Haynes has anticipated he will be "plodding along" on his Pedersen.

"There will be lots of tea shops and custard creams along the way," he said.

"I think there will be an awful lot of pain so I'll be stopping a lot to massage my legs. The hills will be the biggest challenge because unlike a modern bike, you can't stand up in the saddle on a Pedersen to give you that extra push to get up a hill.

"But I'm looking forward to having a leisurely ride through the French countryside. I've only been a couple of times before and that was in a car."

Last year Mr Haynes cycled from Kettering to Blackpool and back in the British Beard and Moustache Championship and was often stopped along the way by people intrigued by his bike and outfit.

"People were keen to stop and chat," he said.

"They always come and ask what we're doing so it's a great way to meet people."

Mr Haynes has already raised £1,500 and is holding a post-Paris party at the hospital on October 12 to bolster his fundraising efforts.

Plans for the new bereavement suite are currently being drawn up and the project was something that Mr Haynes was keen to support.

He said: "I can't imagine what it's like for a woman to carry a baby to term and then lose it, all the while surrounded by new families and their happiness. I think this new suite is a necessity to help women in those early days."

For more details about Mr Haynes' fundraising activities, visit his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/donate/2844695678892826/10219251664546652/