70-year-old nurse cycles more than 300km to support Cavell

Ian Clifford, who has been nursing for more than 50 years, cycled around north-east England to raise hardship funds for charity that supports colleagues in need

Ian Clifford, who has been nursing for more than 50 years, cycled around north-east England to raise hardship funds for charity that supports colleagues in need

A selfie by Ian Clifford, wearing cycling gear, sunglasses and helmet
Ian Clifford, who cycled 10km a day to raise money for Cavell

A 70-year-old nurse has cycled more than 300km to raise hundreds of pounds for a charity that supports nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants in the UK who are going through tough times.

Ian Clifford from Durham cycled 310km in 31 days, raising hundreds of pounds for Cavell, which helps nursing and other healthcare staff experiencing personal or financial hardship due to illness, disability, older age, domestic abuse and the cost-of-living crisis.

Raising money to support nurses in need and give back to the profession

Mr Clifford, who has been a nurse for 52 years, said he took on the challenge to give back to the profession and raise awareness of first world war nurse Edith Cavell, who the charity is named after.

‘I’m proud to be a nurse and to support the Cavell charity,’ he said. ‘It means a lot to me knowing that there is an organisation supporting those who are facing tough times in their lives, as it could happen to any of us.

‘During my career I was an RCN representative, so I know how much Cavell’s support is needed and what stresses nurses are under.’

Cycling challenge ‘gave me time to reflect’

Speaking about his cycling experience, Mr Clifford said he found travelling through the Teeside and Durham area to be ‘therapeutic and contemplative’, and that his biggest setback was falling ill in October last year.

‘The cycling gave me time to reflect and soak up the beautiful sights and sounds of the countryside – something that I think we should all make time for,’ he said. ‘Falling horribly ill in the middle of October meant I had to push my event to November, which was a busier month for me. However, I stuck with it and if I missed a day of cycling due to work commitments, I just doubled my distance the following day.’

Mr Clifford said he still loves being a nurse and currently delivers flu and COVID-19 vaccines to staff.

Cavell chief executive Lewis Allett said: ‘I’m always inspired by the impressive challenges that Cavell’s fundraisers take on, and Ian is no exception. He is so passionate about his profession, having dedicated five decades to nursing, so seeing him fundraise to give back to support others in the nursing and midwifery family is amazing.’

The charity saw a 14% increase in the number of nursing and midwifery staff it gave financial support to in 2023, compared with the previous year, with a large proportion of applications for help coming from working staff, according to Cavell.

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