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The Theo's Allstars team

The Theo's Allstars team

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On Sunday, September 25, hundreds are expected to take to their bikes for a challenging ride through the beautiful Sussex countryside as the Chestnut Sussex 100 kicks off for its third year.

One team that took part last year had a very special reason to make every pedal count

Theo’s Allstars, a team of 30, cycled in memory of a very special little boy who was cared for by Chestnut Tree House, the children’s hospice service for Sussex.

Theo Strudwick spent just over four weeks at the hospice.

A lack of oxygen at birth meant that parents Lewis and Chantelle Strudwick knew their little boy would not survive for very long and so they wanted to make the most of the time they had with him.

“We were introduced to Chestnut Tree House when Theo was just two weeks old” said Chantelle. “We visited the hospice and absolutely loved it so decided to spend whatever time we had with Theo there.

“We did all sorts; trips out to Marwell Zoo, the Sealife Centre and Butlins, swimming, painting, spending time in the hospice’s Woodland Walk. We made some really good memories before we had to say goodbye to Theo.

“We really felt like we had a huge extended family whilst we were at Chestnut Tree and having their support meant we knew that everything would be ok.

“September 26, 2015 would have been Theo’s first birthday so we wanted to take part in the Chestnut Sussex 100 to mark this, and also to raise money for such a wonderful cause.”

Members of Theo’s Allstars rode each of the 31km, 64km and 100km routes, all completing the ride and raising over £2,000 in the process.

“Taking part in the Sussex 100 hundred was amazing, and the amount of riders that took part was brilliant – we all cheered each other on as we rode together,” said Chantelle.

“For those taking part this year – take in the beautiful views, and though it’s going to take a lot of sweat and pain throughout the course, remember your loved ones and why you are taking part in this amazing event – to help children and families like ours.”

The Chestnut Sussex 100 aims to raise vital funds to help families such as the Strudwicks.

The hospice currently cares for 300 children with life-shortening conditions from across Sussex and South-East Hampshire, with less than seven per cent of their annual £3.5million care costs coming from central government funding.

They therefore rely heavily on the generosity of the local community, and on events such as the Chestnut Sussex 100 cycle ride, to continue to offer care.

The cycle ride, which has an exciting new route for 2016, starts at Plumpton Racecourse in Lewes, and features a choice of three distances: 32km, 66km or 103km routes through the beautiful East Sussex countryside.

The ride is open to anyone over the age of 18 (over 16s can participate if accompanied by an adult), with everyone from experienced cyclists to novices invited to challenge themselves to raise money for Sussex’s children’s hospice.

If you would like to take part in this year’s Chestnut Sussex 100 you can find out more and register at www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk/sussex100

Registration closes on Monday, September 14, and costs £35, including feed stops, chip timing and on the day support.