As a few of you may have seen via our Facebook page and Twitter feed, we are proud to announce that for the first time in its history the Stafford GP has an official charity. This year we are teaming up with the locally based Hibbs Lupus Trust as our official charity partner. It is the first time we have entered into such a relationship and marks another step forward for the race and shows our commitment to the local area and good causes. All in all its quite exciting.
The Hibbs Lupus Trust was set by John Hibbs. In 2008, John’s sister, Viki, was diagnosed with Lupus. Lupus is a condition which causes the body’s immune system to go into overdrive & in turn begins to attack itself. Symptoms can include; extreme fatigue, eye problems, joint/muscle pain, miscarriage, hair loss. It is incurable. In a bid to support Viki, John decided to run the 2010 Virgin London Marathon. Despite his ‘dodgy knees’ he also completed the 2010 Great North Run, the 2011 London Marathon.
In October 2011 John founded The Hibbs Lupus Trust to raise the profile of lupus and to support patients in his local community. The Hibbs Lupus Trust is run entirely by voluntary trustees, friends & supporters of the charity but working with the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust Foundation the charity is already actively involved in the community and has received fantastic support from local businesses.
By supporting the Hibbs Lupus Trust the Stafford GP is helping to raise further awareness of this condition and raise more money. It is a further commitment we want to make to being an active part of the local community of Stafford and our new partnership sees the event make a number of commitments to achieve this by including the Hibbs Lupus Trust in our marketing, by featuring them on our website and in our social media streams and by making them with prominent in the activities on the night itself. And this will mean one very special feature.
Stafford GP organiser Paul Rowlands explained how the charity and the bike race came together:
“We got the introduction through the Lewis Partnership. They’ve supported the Stafford GP since its creation in 2010 and Chris Lewis asked me if I knew any cyclists who would join his friend John on a charity ride this year. We met for a coffee one day and initially hatched a plan to get a few professional cyclists to help John along the route of 200 mile charity ride. But at the same time we realised that with the bike race here in the town we might also be able to make a direct impact on the awareness and fundraising of the charity”
So how do you make a more direct impact? The idea we’ve come up with is the Lupus Lap where the public can raise money for the Hibbs Lupus Trust whilst getting the chance to follow in the footsteps of the professionals. As John Hibbs explains:
“Much of the work we’ve done to raise money to date has been about getting people to take on challenges on behalf of the trust like the London Marathon that requires a big commitment of time and effort to the cause. The idea behind the Lupus Lap was to find a way that anyone can make a contribution to the charity whilst at the same time having some fun and being part of a really exciting sporting event.
“The ride is only a mile in length, so you don’t have to do any training. It’s a really easy way to do something that will make a real difference to people who suffer from this condition”
So how will the Lupus Lap work? For a small entry fee 100 participants will get to ride a lap of the professional course before the race itself kicks off on the evening of the 4th July. The then ride one lap of the professional course before the start of the professional race. Each “Lupus Lappers” will receive a commemorative number to pin to their jersey, which they get to keep as a souvenir of the event.