"My stepdaughter’s care inspired me to get back on my bike in my 80s"

Norman and Kila in their Sue Ryder cycling gear

A Gloucester-based Great-Grandad has a new hobby, got fit and is raising funds for our Leckhampton Court Hospice following the loss of his wife, after being inspired by the care she received from Sue Ryder and his stepdaughter, who is on staff.

Despite not having been on a bike in over 30 years, 82-year-old Norman Scantlebury from Brockworth started cycling again with encouragement from stepdaughter Kila Lea following the loss of his wife.

Much-loved Evelyn Scantlebury, Norman’s wife and Kila’s mother, died two years ago. She was cared for by the Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice at Home team, which Kila is part of.

"When my wife passed away, the care she was given in her final month at home was amazing," Norman says. "Towards the end she could barely smile but when the Sue Ryder Nurses came in, we could hear her laughing and she rallied. It was so lovely.

"I can remember how proud Evelyn and I both were when Kila told us she had got a job in the Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice at Home team," he continues. "Evelyn thought it was wonderful Kila was working for Sue Ryder.”

“I felt so humbled to see the team I was part of giving such wonderful care to Mum," adds Kila. "They made a huge difference to us."

Getting back into cycling

"I was worried about Norman after Mum passed away," Kila goes on to explain. "He had been Mum’s carer for so long, and being a full-time carer you don’t have time for you. Norman’s fitness dipped, and he looked really tired and ill. He started to have a few falls when he was out and about too.

"Norman had an exercise bike at home so I suggested he build up his legs by going on that, which he started to do. As a keen cyclist myself, I would often share cycling stories and photos with Norman when we got together. One day I said 'You should get a road bike and come out with me'. One suggestion was all it took!

"We got Norman a bike and we were out for our first training ride soon after, which was a bit heart-in-the-mouth as I think he fell off about three times. Let’s just say I got a few new grey hairs in the process!" she laughs. "I can’t get Norman off his bike now. He is going out on his bike more than me!"

"After Evelyn passed away, it would have been easy for me to sit down in my chair and watch TV all day, but I knew I had to do something," recalls Norman. "The first few times going out on the bike was scary, but I soon got the hang of it.

"I started cycling in May 2017 and in June 2017 I did my first cycling event, biking 35km in the Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice Ride for Ryder Sportive. I raised £400 in thanks for the wonderful care given to my wife, and for the super care given by Kila and the team she works in," he says.

Lucky number '82'

Norman is entering Ride for Ryder again this year on Sunday 24th June, cycling 40km and hoping to raise £500. The hospice team have reserved the number '82' competitor number especially for Norman to wear because it matches his age.

Kila hopes to join the ride on the day too.

"Norman is an inspiration for others; he is an absolute legend," she says proudly. "He is showing everyone that as you get older, you can still get out there and do new things and enjoy yourself. He teaches me that life is for living.

"Norman has been my dad for 30 years and, if anything, since Mum died, our relationship has grown stronger," she adds. "I think Mum would be pleased to see how much Norman is here for me and I am here for him. We’re here for each other."

Has Norman inspired you to get on your bike?

Check out our events listing for cycling events coming up in the future.