Mike & Fiona Rivett’s Virtual Mileage Challenge

Mike and Fiona Rivett have been long standing fundraisers and supporters of Metabolic Support UK. Their enthusiasm and energy never ceases to amaze us and we are extremely grateful for all the vital funds and awareness they have raised. This year they faced a new challenge of running their regular event safely and in line with the restrictions put in place due to the pandemic. Not ones to be defeated, Mike and Fiona found a way to make it work and we are delighted to share their stories from the event. A huge Thank You to Mike, Fiona and everyone who helped make this incredible event possible, for raising an astounding amount of money, and for being such a wonderful inspiration. 

 

The Virtual Mileage Challenge

30 years ago, our daughter, Claire died on the 18th May (1991) at the age of 10 ½ months, having been diagnosed with Gauchers Type 2 Disease – a rare inherited metabolic disorder. As with many families who have to deal with the shock, trauma and loss of a child, we looked for support wherever we could get it and Metabolic Support (at the time known as RTMDC) were there for us, initially in the form of co-founder Lesley Greene. Because of the support we received and our awareness that so many other families had similar stories to ourselves, we decided to raise both the profile and some cash for the charity. This led us to plan a fundraiser on the second anniversary of Claire’s passing (see below). The response from close family, friends and colleagues was incredible and we resolved to devise another event two years later which would include lots more people. Enthusiasm and support for our biennial events has never seemed to wane and 26 years later, the majority of our current supporters are the same ones who took part in 1995 – absolutely amazing.

So, we had it all sorted with plans put in place at the end of last year for a foolproof ‘event’ on the 8th May 2021– COVID restrictions; the need to set a physical challenge for our (very) longstanding supporters; absolutely no chance of meeting up – all accounted for….

…And then it became clear that the ‘rule of 6’ for meeting outdoors was going to be lifted on the 17th May. What to do? Our brilliant supporters were contacted and absolutely everyone was keen to move the event back two weeks in order to capitalize on this new freedom to meet in the fresh air! A further problem – with the new limit of 30 people meeting outdoors we had around 45 people who wanted to take part (with others based in Suffolk, Wales and Sicily who would do their own ‘local’ thing).

And in the end it was sorted, with a day of cunningly devised activities that ensured no more than 30 people were in the same group/place at any one time!

We were blessed with a largely dry and relatively warm day (perfect for walking and cycling) and all of our regular participants arrived in plenty of time. It was, as you can imagine, all a bit surreal. After 15 months of intermittent lockdown, travel restrictions and changes of rules, to be finally in the company of such a large number of family and friends was an absolute delight. We meet up every two years as this group and many have been turning up and trudging up hills, cycling along paths, even swimming in lakes in all of the weather conditions early May in the UK can bring.

In fact, this year’s event had links with our very first event in May 1993, when Mike and his mate Derek, cycled from Westminster Bridge to Cheadle Hulme over a weekend. They were supported during the ride by Fiona’s brother, Andy. The challenge this time was to clock up enough miles between all participants to enable us to ‘virtually return’ Mike and Derek from London. This meant that between us all, we had to walk or cycle 450 miles+.

At the planning stage we felt this was a really testing target. If you think about it, that would normally mean 45 people completing at least 10 miles each on the day. As it was, we needn’t have worried, because not only did pretty much all of the walkers complete both walks (11 miles each) but some cycled between 15-50+ miles and our ‘remote’ supporters clocked up even more miles in Wales, Suffolk and even Sicily. A contribution of more than 100 miles from Mike’s fellow walkers in the Stockport Walkers’ Club was also very beneficial!

The majority of our participants on the day took part in two circular walks from Nelson Pit, Poynton up into Lyme Park and towards the Gritstone Trail in Derbyshire. 29 took part in the morning walk, whilst 9 participants took the opportunity to clock up miles on the Middlewood Way between Marple and Macclesfield. In the afternoon, we split the participants into two groups, one led by Fiona and the other by Mike. The groups walked the circular route in opposite directions (although, not backwards – that would have been a challenge!) and passed each other briefly on a wide and very safe piece of moorland about halfway round the circuit.

Because of the pandemic and the lack of contact between people we decided to forego any sponsorship activity and just asked our

participants to donate a minimum of £5 each. We reckoned that way, we could probably raise about £300 for the charity. Of course, given the widespread support that figure proved to be far too conservative! We had amazing donations from friends of friends, siblings of friends; we had three figure sums donated by individuals and even two lots of winnings from a European Football sweepstake!. At the time of writing our total raised from this year’s event stands at £1935 – absolutely incredible and more than six times our projected amount.

We never cease to be amazed at the commitment and enthusiasm shown by our family and friends. We’re so grateful that we managed to meet up this year after the chaos and misery inflicted by the COVID pandemic. We still hope to have our biennial ‘thank you’ party for participants in January next year, but then, who knows whether that will be possible? What we do know with a great deal of certainty is that some sort of event involving a physical outdoor challenge will take place in May 2023 – our supporters wouldn’t let us get away with not organising one!

Mike and Fiona Rivett

You can learn more about Mike and Fiona’s inspiration and previous fundraisers by watching our special Metabolic Support UK 40th Birthday video interview with them here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzkmLS02AWo&pp=sAQA