10:30am, Monday 8th May. Eight cyclists (and baby Oscar!) found themselves huddled under a bike shelter at The Highfield Adolescent Unit, watching the rain stream down. Miraculously, as they contemplated the epic challenge that lay ahead of them, the weather began to dry up and, thankfully, the rain then held off for the rest of the day.

With the weather now on their side, Andrea and Fiachra Bird, Alice Floyd, Hugh Kitchen, Helen McCuaig-Finlay, Bradley Rayner and Saffron Watkins headed out of The Warneford site with their 40-mile circular route stretching before them. Alice’s husband, Jack, and baby Oscar were also joining the squad for the first leg of the journey.

The Oxfordshire Hospital School team (consisting of experienced cyclists as well as more casual riders) set off through Headington and then down into Barton, before cycling across to Stanton-St-John and out to Worminghall. From there, they made their way to Thame, via Shabbington and North Weston, and continued along the quieter roads up through Long Crendon and Ambrosden before returning to Oxford through Islip and Woodeaton.


This amazing challenge wasn’t an Oxfordshire county event but was simply born out of Alice Floyd’s desire to help raise funds for The Meadow Unit, the new PICU currently being built on The Warneford Hospital site. Alice explains:

“I read the page asking for fundraising ideas for The Meadow Unit and thought that a school event would be really fun and simple to organise. I planned the route, set up the page and invited others to join me.”


Undeterred by the lack of supporters lining the route to spur them on, as are often seen at county-organised events, this amazing, inclusive team of fundraisers fully supported each other on route. As well as offering individual encouragement, Alice’s team were also boosted along the way by the collective knowledge that they were raising vital funds for the new children’s Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit. Commenting on behalf of the team, Alice noted:

“As Hospital School teachers we will be helping students in the PICU and using the garden, gym and sensory room with them. We know how important these spaces are in an adolescent unit.”

Donations on the team’s Just Giving page are still coming in, but the phenomenal total raised by the amazing efforts of these fantastic fundraisers currently stands at over £1000!!

Apparently, the team’s decision to end the challenge at a Marston pub, rather than back at The Highfield Unit, also proved to be a great incentive for some to cross the finish line – and, after all that leg work, who could blame them! Alice informed us that she personally was looking forward to demolishing a well-deserved piece of cake. 😊

The Oxford Health Charity team would like to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU to each member of this incredible Oxfordshire Hospital School cycling squad for their time, energy…and stiff, sore limbs! We hope they realise that, by completing this 40-mile challenge, they have made such a huge difference to the experiences of the children who will be using the services at The Meadow Unit.

It seems that this epic cycle hasn’t just been of great benefit to the service users of the PICU but also to the team themselves. Speaking to the charity team after the event, Alice concluded:

“We had a brilliant time on our cycle on Monday….Organising and completing this challenge with the people I work with has bonded us as a team and been a joy to take part in.” 

If anyone would still like to show their support for Alice and the Oxfordshire Hospital School team, please visit their Just Giving page: Alice Floyd is fundraising for Oxford Health Charity (justgiving.com).

Feeling inspired to complete your own fundraising challenge - either for the PICU, any of our other charity appeals, or your own service? Then please do get in touch with a member of the Oxford Health Charity team at [email protected] to tell us about your chosen event, or visit our Events page to find out what we've got coming up that you could get involved in.