The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has given its backing to an ambitious charity challenge which will see a group of cyclists attempt to ride more than 450 miles to raise funds for Dementia charities.


The journey, called stRIDE17, will see 12 women cycling through England, the Isle of Man and Wales for eight days, 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 in August.


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


stRIDE17 is being organised by Virginia Bailey whose father has Vascular Dementia.


She explained: ‘For someone with Dementia, memories from the past often come to the forefront of their minds. So my sister and I wanted to combine the message of leading an active, healthy lifestyle, which can contribute to preventing the onset of Dementia, with memories from our Dad’s life by visiting places which are special to him and our family.


‘Over eight days in August a team of brilliantly inspirational women will embark on a 450-mile cycle visiting places that are significant to both our Dad’s and our family’s lives, from our departure in Liverpool, where my Dad grew up and met our wonderful Mum, to finishing in Shrewsbury, where my sister and I enjoyed an amazing childhood full of love and happy memories. In between we will visit places that ooze nostalgia for our family, including the Isle of Man.


‘The Steam Packet Company has been extremely generous in supporting our efforts by assisting with the cost of travel to and from the Isle of Man, so on behalf of all involved in stRIDE17 I’d like to thank the company for its help.’


The challenge starts in Liverpool and heads 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 before sailing to Liverpool the following day to continue the journey through North Wales and on to Shrewsbury.


Virginia added: ‘We have two clear and simple aims; to raise money to support specialist Dementia care workers and research into the disease and to help families and carers by raising awareness of Dementia through sharing stories and opportunities for support. To help improve awareness we’re inviting people to join stRIDE17, whether it is meeting up with the team members to discuss Dementia, making a donation or joining the journey, for just an hour or as many days as you’d like. If anyone in the Isle of Man would like to get involved they can contact me on [email protected].’


Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘Dementia is a disease which affects hundreds of thousands of people across the British Isles including here in the Isle of Man. Virginia and the stRIDE17 have set themselves quite a challenge as they try to raise money for two leading Dementia charities and, importantly, greater awareness of the disease and we’re pleased to be able to do our bit to support them.


‘I hope people in the Isle of Man will lend their support, perhaps jumping on their bikes to ride alongside the stRIDE17 team.’

Photograph: Members of the stRIDE17 team