Cyclists brave the rain to cycle 50 miles to Lincoln and back for Grantham Hospital campaign

Fund-raising cyclists are, from left - Jody Leitch, Elvis Stooke, Ben Pacey and Guy Hawes

Fund-raising cyclists are, from left - Jody Leitch, Elvis Stooke, Ben Pacey and Guy Hawes

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A potential legal challenge over the temporary closure of Grantham’s A&E has received a cash boost thanks to five dedicated cyclists.

The team of fund-raisers went on a cycle ride from Grantham Hospital to Lincoln County Hospital and back – and they raised more than £1,000.

Cyclists return to Grantham. Fifth cyclist Peter Brister is pictured at the back of the group

Cyclists return to Grantham. Fifth cyclist Peter Brister is pictured at the back of the group

Made up of Elvis Stooke, Peter Brister, Guy Hawes, Jody Leitch and Ben Pacey, the cyclists made it to Lincoln in two hours 45 minutes. They were supported by Aaron Stooke who drove a support vehicle.

Elvis, 36, of Dudley Road, Grantham, organised the fund-raiser. He said: “That’s very much good going considering we had someone who had never cycled that far before in their life – me. And I have health issues.

“I was certainly out of my comfort zone.”

What also affected the comfort of not only Elvis but the others as well was the “horrendous weather” as they battled on through heavy showers.

The ride went largely without incident, although Elvis did take a fall from his bike. But determined to carry on, he got back on and rode all the way back – bringing the total miles covered to 51.

Elvis said: “It was difficult coming back, not so much for the others but it for me. But I was determined to get back and do what I set out to do.”

He added: “From the bottom of my heart I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to the people of Grantham. It meant a lot to see the people there when we got back as well.

“I’ve never felt so heart-warmed.”

The money raised will go towards the judicial review being considered by Leigh Day, on behalf of campaign group SOS Grantham Hospital. The cyclists were also heavily supported by fellow campaign group Fighting 4 Grantham Hospital.

Both are campaigning against the decision made last month by the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust to close Grantham’s A&E department for at least three months. The trust says the move was necessary as a staffing shortage at its other two hospitals – Lincoln County and Boston Pilgrim – had created a situation that was unsafe for patients across the county as a whole.

Collection buckets for donations towards the legal challenge can be found across town, including The Goose pub and Morrisons.