Double bereavement inspires challenge

MHDE'Rupert Saunders
MHDE'Rupert Saunders

A FUNDRAISER from Byfield is gearing up for a charity challenge in aid of a cause very close to his heart.

Rupert Saunders, 60, will be cycling 550 kilometres in six days from Nairobi in Kenya to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

The charity provided practical, medical, emotional and financial support to him after two members of his family died in the same year.

His mother Daphne Harley and his sister Felicity Saunders, both lost their battle against cancer seven years ago.

It was the help the charity offered during this time that then inspired his fundraising efforts.

Mr Saunders said: “There are a lot of people who think that Macmillan are just nurses and help provide cancer care but what they do is far more than that.

“They provide financial and emotional support when you are going through the diagnosis. When I lost both my mother and sister to it, I really benefitted from the emotional support they gave me.

“All of the services they provide need funding and I want others in my situation to be able to benefit from the expert help I got.

“They are always there for people in times of need. The work they do is absolutely fantastic and it is always good to try and help them.”

It is not the first time he has taken on a cycling challenge. Mr Saunders, has previously gone from coast to coast in Mexico as well as pedalled more than 400 kilometres through Vietnam, also for Macmillan.

Mr Saunders, a magazine publisher, added: “Usually these rides will involve setting the tent up by the side of the road and sleeping there.

“Fortunately, the locals are very friendly when they meet you, and supportive of what you are doing.”

In addition to the cycling trip, in October, he stood outside the Tesco store in Banbury on Saturday to raise extra funds sporting a green wig.

He hopes to raise a total of £3,5000. To support him visit