EIGHTY cyclists battled with muddy terrain and more than two hours of pedal pushing around South Swindon yesterday, all in aid of Prospect Hospice.

Now in its fourth year, the Prospect Hospice Big Bike began at the Croft Trail near Nationwide’s Pavilion sports ground in Pipers Way, shortly before 10.30am.

With three routes on offer, a 28km, 40km and 55km option, all abilities were catered for at the event, which raised more than £12,000 in 2013.

Many of those donning their lycra and safety helmets were cycling for the hospice after the care given to a family member of theirs.

A team of eight from TIBCO, an international firm with offices in Kembrey Park, were riding in memory of Karen Tredget, a wife of a colleague.

Husband Keith, 54, said: “We both loved cycling and lots of our friends loved cycling, so we thought this might be the best way to raise money for the charity.”

Keith and his colleagues managed to raise just over £1,140 in four weeks before the event, which mainly came from other IBCO employees, including those working for the company in Germany and India.

Anna Skolasinska-Barnett, 33, a member of Keith’s team, said: “We really liked Karen. She was very charismatic whenever we met her. We wanted to support Keith and help the hospice.”

Lucy Watkins, 43, of Wroughton, who works at Intel, lost her father whilehe stayed with the hospice.

She said the hospice had done everything it could to ensure a difficult time in her family’s lives was made as easy as possible.

“I have done a few things for them. Each year you just look at what they’re doing and see how they match up with your own interests,” she said.

“Prospect provided an environment much calmer and pleasant than most places. It’s more spacious than many hospitals you go to.

“At that time, when you’re going through such a difficult time, you want to be somewhere like that.”

Sharon Cottle, 44, also of Wroughton, was riding with Lucy on the day. She said: “You go into Prospect and from the front desk throughout the building everyone is smiling. You wouldn’t think you would get that at a place like a hospice.

“You know when you’re in there they are aware every single second of life is so precious.”

Between the two of them, Sharon and Lucy raised more than £300 for the charity.

For more information on fundraising opportunities with Prospect Hospice, visit www.prospect-hospice.net