A WOMAN has pledged to make a fundraiser an annual event after raising more than £5,500 for a Sheffield hospital charity.
Rachel Bentley, from Newark, organised a horse and bike riding fundraiser in aid of Weston Park Hospital which treated her late friend, Melanie Ashworth.
Mel was cared for at the Sheffield hospital following her diagnosis of breast cancer. After a six-year battle the mother-of-one, from Laneham, in Nottinghamshire, died in November, aged 36.
Rachel, 47, said: “Mel was my best friend. We got to know each other through our shared love of horses and when her cancer returned two years ago I kept her horses at my house to help look after them.
“Mel underwent treatment at Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield and they were fantastic with her - so we have donated the money raised from the Mel Ashworth Ride 4 Life to Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity.”
Rachel and Mel first held the Ride 4 Life event together in May 2011 and raised more than £12,000.
Rachel said: “After losing Mel I was unsure if I should hold the event again this year, but I decided it would be a fitting tribute and a lot of people were keen to get involved again.”
About 20 fundraisers, including Mel’s husband Simon, her six-year-old son Jacob and father, on horses and 30 cyclists dressed in Mel’s favourite colour, pink, took part in the 15-mile trek from Normanton-on-Trent to Harby in Lincolnshire.
The community also held a fundraising fishing match, tractor rally and clay pigeon shoot and a further £1,700 was raised by another of Mel’s friends, Dave Silvester.
Sarah Cross, fundraiser for Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity, said: “We are so thankful to Rachel and everyone that took part in this fantastic fundraiser.
“It has raised an incredible amount and it is great to hear it will become an annual event.”