Bishop of Swindon gets on his bike to raise funds for a special Christmas gift

By Jessica Durston - 19 July 2022

Charity
  • Dr Lee Rayfield (pictured in the centre) has started his fundraising cycle journey

    Dr Lee Rayfield (pictured in the centre) has started his fundraising cycle journey

After recently having covid, Bishop of Swindon Dr Lee Rayfield is getting back on his bike saddle to cycle miles and miles to help locals in need this Christmas.

Being ill with covid recently, has not stopped Bishop of Swindon, Dr Lee Rayfield from getting on his bike once again to take on a huge fundraising challenge, cycling some 881 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats in just 13 days.

Dr Rayfield will be cycling to raise as much money as possible to support local families in most need with a special Christmas gift.

This is the second time that Bishop Lee has taken on such a massive quest.

Back in 2014, following chemotherapy and radiotherapy for Hodgkin Lymphoma, he rode from John O’Groats to Land’s End and raised £16,000 to equip and train church leaders from across Uganda to help them better serve their communities.

His plan was to cycle the other way round two years ago, but his quest was scuppered as he hit a patch of black ice breaking his femur and he also needed to have a replacement of his replacement hip. 

After surgery, Bishop Lee is now able to fulfil his second challenge, but this time helping people in his hometown of Swindon in a challenge he has named ‘From the Bottom to the Top’.

Dr Lee Rayfield, Bishop of Bristol said: “It feels fantastic to be out on the road again to not only cycle which I love but also to raise money to help local people who will need support this Christmas with the cost of living continuing to soar.

“It was an anxious departure as we set off on what is the hottest day of the year so far and we ask that you all pray for us as we continue to push through it. We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that has supported us so far and it’s great to see that we have smashed our first £1000 target. I must also thank my family and friends for supporting me always. Please give generously, it really will mean such a lot to many people.”

Lee became the Bishop of Swindon in 2005. When asked the question “What will Swindon do for you?”, the Bishop said Swindon has opened his heart to the needs of the most disadvantaged in his local community.

He added that he really wants to make a difference which is why he has been back on his bike again riding across hills, in temperatures of almost 40 degrees on some days.

Heading off last week with his cycling buddy, Chris Stanley and his good friend Francis O’Leary who is the driver for part of the journey, Bishop Lee had some special thanks for Michael at Halfords in Swindon.

Micheal helped him put one of the bike racks on the car which had defeated him. The Bishop also had thanks to extend to Mark, Mike, Matt and the team at Hargroves Cycles, who have continually supported him by getting his bike on the road. The team have also donated a brand new bike for a raffle.

Bishop Lee said the driving has now been taken over by his good friend, Simon Robertson, who is married to one of the clergy, and has also ridden from Lands End to John O’Groats himself. The Bishop said he views Simon as a source of great moral support.

Ending on Monday, 25 July, the Bishop of Swindon will take three days to recover, before heading off to the Lambeth Conference, and next month he will take some study leave and some holiday.  

Bishop Lee lives in Swindon with his wife, Liz and they have been married for over 40 years. They have three children – Matt who is 38 years old and lives in Leamington Spa; Simon who is 35 years old and lives in London and Louise who is 31 years old and lives in Warwickshire.

They also have a grandson called Kaden who is six years old.

To support this cause, members of the public can visit Bishop Lee’s JustGiving page at https://justgiving.com/crowdfunding/from-the-bottom-to-the-top?utm  

Individuals can also follow his journey on his daily blog From the Bottom to the Top at https://bishopswindon.wixsite.com/my-site/blog 

The Bishop's fundraising team would particularly like to hear from any Swindon companies who would like to help with Lee's fundraising efforts.

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