Teacher’s cycle of thanks

Alan Baker with his daughter Rachel.
Alan Baker with his daughter Rachel.

A SHEFFIELD teacher is warming up for a cycle marathon in aid of the Children’s Hospital after being inspired by the care it gave to his daughter when she contracted swine flu.

Alan Baker, who is Head of Physics at King Edward VII School, will be cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats over ten days from April 9.

He said he wanted to give something back to the hospital where his eight-year-old daughter, Rachel, was treated when she developed swine flu and then pneumonia as a secondary complication in November 2009.

Alan, aged 37, said: “She needed two chest drains to remove the fluid on her lung.

“The staff on ward M2, the doctors, the surgeons and the respiratory team were absolutely outstanding. They were patient, caring and always knew the best thing to do.

“When Rachel eventually got home she took a good few weeks to recover fully but is back to full health now and has no long-term ill effects of the swine flu or pneumonia.

“She is now actively involved in lots of activities but most notably a local swimming club.”

Alan, who lives in Ecclesall with his wife Sarah and daughters Rachel, Ellie and Bethany, said: “We were so impressed with her care at the hospital and since then I have been looking for a way to give something back and fundraising for The Children’s Hospital Charity seemed like the perfect way to do this.”

He added: “I’ve always wanted to do Land’s End to John O’Groats since cycling as a teenager but never thought I would.

“I was casually speaking to a friend when it came up in conversation and he remarked ‘I’ll do it with you’. I thought he was joking but here we are today, days from the challenge!

There was also the challenge to lose weight, up to three stones – “and thought this would be a great way to do it. I have currently lost approximately two-and-a-half stone and think this challenge will sort the last few stubborn pounds!”

Alan will be joined by friends Jim Moxon and Paul Morris, who will also be raising money for charity.

“We’ve been taking on lots of cold weather, early morning and evening rides in the Peak District.

“I also recently took my bike to Cornwall and did some of the first day as a practice. It was then that I realised how hilly it is in and around Sheffield and how I have grown to love the hills!”

Alan can be sponsored at: http://www.justgiving.com/Alan-Baker.