A group of Merseyside cyclists are preparing for a 50 mile bike ride taking place in July, raising funds and awareness for Liverpool charity Sunflowers.

The ride from Liverpool to Chester will start at the historic Old Haymarket on the Liverpool side of the Birkenhead Tunnel. The route loops through North Cheshire then back through the tunnel and finishes at Exchange Flags.

Sunflowers, in Aigburth Road, is a charity that supports over 1,400 people a year needing access to services that can help with cancer or long-term conditions including fibromyalgia, anxiety, crohns and many more – not just for the person but their families, too.

Sunflowers provides over 1,200 appointments every month to support people needing counselling, exercise for rehabilitation and pre-habilitation alongside complementary therapies and peer support groups to help cope with a health crisis after diagnosis.

Bobby Magee, development manager at Sunflowers, said: “Sunflowers supports a throughput service to help people get back on their feet after a diagnosis, to build confidence strength, peer support groups and this is why this particular challenge fits in so well with our ethos.

“We have a ‘K9:9k’, which is a 9k for canines to help people target a fundraising walk to help them get back to fitness after a major health setback – and they say you never forget to ride a bike!”

Sunflowers will be building up to people wanting to take part in the event and are aiming for 20 people. 2024 will start off with some cycling pilates before starting a bi-weekly cycle club from Sunflowers in March.

Sunflowers are able to provide 10 weeks of free counselling

As well as this, Sunflowers needs to raise £144k a year to break even and keep their doors open so they have a big campaign starting in January.

Bobby said: “With waiting lists up to 36 weeks for counselling with the NHS and council, Sunflowers are able to provide 10 weeks of free counselling within 2 weeks of registration paid for by fundraisers and people wanting to give something back.”

Nicole Konings Balfy, ambassador and member of the Sunflower board, and Lorraine Pro, cyclist and pioneer of cycling app Komoot, are just two of many who will be taking part in the ride.

L to r: Bobby, Nicole and Lorraine who are all taking part in raising funds for Sunflowers 

Nicole said: “It was a no-brainer to join the board: knowing how beneficial the services were to people with cancer and long-term illnesses.

“I had seen how people were making friends at Sunflowers, that they were having fun together in the face of adversity and how that affected their health in a positive way.

“Sunflowers is a very special place to a lot of people and it deserves all the support it can get. So yes, I’ll be cycling with Lorraine, who is such a powerhouse, to raise funds for Sunflowers in 2024.”

Sunflowers is a charity very close to people’s hearts in Merseyside and they have helped so many people in different ways, clients come from all across Merseyside and beyond for their renowned services.

Lorraine told us a bit about her experience suffering from a life changing illness and just what the charity means to her: “One minute I can run, ride my bike, even horse ride and was a fitness instructor for 25 years, the next I’m in hospital and had this illness that doctors can only help with pain medication as there is no cure.

“I struggled for many years with depression and if I’d of know about Sunflowers at that time in my life I think things would have been much easier.

“I’m raising awareness for anyone who has cancer or a long-term illness that you are never alone and too get in touch with Sunflowers.”

To donate or set up a fundraising page ahead of the challenge in July visit their Just Giving page here

Featured image (c) Sunflowers


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