Ex High Sheriff’s 100-mile bike ride with “remarkable” late brother raises thousands for charity
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Former Derbyshire High Sheriff Mike Copestake has paid tribute to his late brother who helped raise thousands for the Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre by joining him in a 100-mile bike ride from Derby to Skegness prior to his passing.
The ride, undertaken by Mike, his brother Jeremy, and Dominic Hughes, raised a large sum of money of which £6,000 has been donated to the holiday centre where it is being used to give the Victorian building much-needed paint repairs so it can continue to withstand the elements in seaside Skegness.
Mike, who is vice chairman of the Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre - a long-running charity which gives five-day stays in Skegness to children who are nominated because they may not otherwise enjoy a holiday - took on the ride with Jeremy and Dominic in October 2022. The trio were backed up by Chris Frost, who drove a van to Skegness and took everyone home again afterwards.
Jeremy, a lawyer at Derby City Council, died suddenly a few short months later, in January 2023.
Mike said: “Jeremy was one of those people everybody knew. There were 700 people at his funeral in Ashbourne. He was a remarkable guy, loved by lots of people, with a big heart.”
The cyclists took two days to get to Skegness at which point Mike remembered how Jeremy – having claimed the North Sea would not be chilly in October – promptly waded into the waves for a dip, only to come out again within seconds, pronouncing it too cold to swim!
The money raised from the bike ride was donated to more than one good cause through the High Sherriff’s fund managed by Foundation Derbyshire, a charitable giving organisation which promotes philanthropy in the county by connecting up donors and causes, and in doing so has distributed £18million since starting up in the 1990s.
Mike Copestake’s fundraising through the bike ride is also benefiting Safe & Sound, the charity which helps children and young people escape exploitation. The rest of the money is being used to set up a project giving prizes to primary schools judged to have the best careers and aspirations programmes.
Foundation Derbyshire chairman Oliver Stephenson said: “We’d like to congratulate Mike on his amazing bike ride to Skegness which successfully raised so much money for such a worthy cause.”
Oliver, who visited the Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre himself when he was High Sheriff, said: “I thought it was the most incredible place. We had lunch with the children when we were there. They were having the time of their life. They were just really loving it and it was a true holiday for them. It was so heart-warming.”
The Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre runs between March and October each year, catering for primary-aged pupils from across the whole county who are nominated if – for a variety of reasons such as financial hardship – they may not otherwise get a break.
It also opens for a week at Christmas time for children who centre staff feel would particularly appreciate a festive treat.
Alan Grimadell, chair of the Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre, said: “We are so grateful to Mike, his brother Jeremy and Dominic for undertaking this mammoth bike ride to Skegness which has benefited our charity so much.
“Running a charity such as ours incurs all sorts of expenses, such as energy and food bills which need to be paid. We are very lucky to be supported by so many people. The money raised from the bike ride and distributed through Foundation Derbyshire is being used to undertake vital paintwork to our centre so it can be in good condition ready for the next busload of children to arrive.”