Cyclist completes charity tandem ride in memory of sister who died days before
PUBLISHED: 13:35 19 August 2012
A 23-year-old from East Finchley embarked on a heart-wrenching fundraising bike ride for her sister just days after she died from cancer.
The sisters had been planning the trek from London to Oxford for months, with Jessica Anderson set to mount her sister’s tandem alongside her sibling’s husband.
But the week before Jessica was due to set off, her sister Naomi Hemmant – a keen cyclist and triathlete – died after a short struggle with bowel cancer.
Jessica, an assistant buyer at Tesco, decided to continue with the bike ride nonetheless.
She cycled the first leg of the 60-mile ride before her mother replaced her on the back of the tandem to finish the trek at the hospice where her daughter had spent her last days.
Naomi had bought the two-man bike with her husband because of their shared love of cycling – the couple went mountain climbing on their first date and enjoyed adventure holidays together.
Jessica, who lives in Elmshurst Crescent, said: “I never thought she was not going to be there on the day.
“With all the treatment she was having it was really hard for her to see her friends and this was going to be an opportunity where they would all be in one place.
“But after she died all of the family still wanted to do it and it would have made her very proud.
“It was so important to her and it was an incredible experience because it gave me a taste for what she loved and it was lovely to see all the people who were there for her.”
More than 80 people pitched up along the way for the event and Jessica has so far raised more than £10,000 for Cancer Research.
“It was a really tough cycle, but everyone was really euphoric that we had managed to get there and it was great to meet all of Naomi’s friends,” she said.
“Like the funeral, it was a celebration of her life, although it was so short.”
* To donate money visit www.justgiving.com/The-Ride2012