An ambitious charity challenge which will see a group of cyclists attempt to ride more than 450 miles to raise funds for Dementia charities has strong support in the Isle of Man according to one of the organisers.


Speaking during Dementia Awareness Week, Virginia Bailey said she was overwhelmed by the local support when she recently visited the Island as preparations for the journey, called stRIDE17, continue.


Over eight days in August stRIDE17 will see 12 women cycling through England, the Isle of Man and Wales, as well as taking on two hikes. The Steam Packet Company is assisting with the costs of travelling to and from the Island during the event.


The riders hope to increase awareness of Dementia as well as raising funds for charities Dementia UK and the Alzheimer’s Society.


Virginia, whose father has Vascular Dementia, said the planned route includes places special to her dad and her family. The journey will start in Liverpool and head north to the Lake District, before turning back to Heysham to catch the ferry to Douglas on 8th August. The team will ride a route around the east and south of the Island on 9th August before sailing to Liverpool the following day to continue the journey through North Wales and on to Shrewsbury.


Along the way they are encouraging people to join the ride, or simply to chat to the team about Dementia.


Ahead of stRIDE17 Virginia visited the Island to plan the route, meet members of local dementia-related charities and thank Steam Packet Company representatives personally for the company’s involvement.


She said she was overwhelmed by the local support and added: ‘I have been made to feel so welcome during my stay and gained the support of a number of cyclists from the Island who will be joining us in August.


‘Having the support of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has been a huge help in making this challenge possible. It was great to meet some of the team and also hear about how committed they are to ensuring that staff are Dementia Friendly by undertaking training through the Alzheimer’s Society.’


She was also interviewed on local radio about stRIDE17, the challenges that having a loved one living with Dementia can bring and also how you can live well with Dementia.


Virginia continued: ‘If you think ahead and try and plan and change the way you do certain things, you can live well with Dementia, as it not only affects the person with it, but all of those around them.’


Grahame Bell, Services Manager at Alzheimer’s Society Isle of Man, added: ‘Events such as this raise awareness of Dementia in a very personal way and it is great that local businesses, like the Steam Packet Company, support people as they try to raise funds to tackle a disease that’s very close to everyone’s hearts.


‘I hope our Island community will join Virginia and the other stRIDERS during the Manx stage of their journey to show that the Isle of Man truly is United Against Dementia.’


Anyone wanting to join the Isle of Man leg of the stRIDE17 challenge on 9th August should email [email protected].


Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘We were pleased to give our support to Virginia and the stRIDE17 team, and I’m delighted to hear there is so much local support for the challenge. Dementia is a disease which affects hundreds of thousands of people across the British Isles including here in the Isle of Man, so efforts like this to raise money for Dementia charities and increase awareness of the disease are to be applauded.’



Photograph: (from left) Alzheimer’s Society Isle of Man Services Manager Grahame Bell, Virginia Bailey and Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Marketing and Online Manager Renée Caley