This one’s for you, dad! Andy and friends rode from Chester to Amsterdam in memory of dad, Paul.

Published on: 03/11/2022

Andy McKinney with Dad Paul

Andy McKinney is full of pride when he remembers his dad, Paul, who was with us at Wirral Hospice St John’s until October 2019 when he passed away, having lived with Lung Cancer for several years.

“The hospice couldn’t do enough for my dad. The nurses were so attentive and the care he received was, honestly, second to none. He’d be delighted to know that, with the support of some great friends we were able to raise some funds for the hospice with our bike ride from Chester to Amsterdam. The lads trained so hard to make him proud.”

And, how!

Andy and friends (take a bow, Joel Bate, Tom Briggs, Matt Davison, Luke Briggs, Joe McFarlane and Ian McArdle) raised some £6,876 for the hospice by taking on their grueling and intense ride from one beautiful City to another. From the Eastgate Clock in Chester they arrived 3 days later, via the Hook of Holland port, at the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum.

After a hiatus of two years, the original plan was put back by COVID, Andy and the boys were raring to go.

The first day was the shortest in distance, just the 71 miles, but steepest in climbs, up to around nearly 1400 feet in parts, up into the Pennines at Thurlstone MillHouse. The riders reported that, “this was the toughest day by far, the route we took across the Pennines, through the Woodhead Pass for a short period of time was, as you can imagine, more than a little scary with the traffic passing close by.”

On day two they took on the small matter of 82 miles, all the way to Hull, over undulating terrain. Joe, who had a Garmin GPS monitor , managed to take the riders off main roads on several occasions and they ended up on trails and cycle paths which, might have added a few miles but with lovely views (picture left).

Having taken the ferry from Hull to Hook of Holland on the third leg of their epic journey they then rode out the final 72 miles up to Amsterdam. Thankfully in Holland, as everyone knows, the land is a little flatter so that helped, well a little bit, on their tired legs. The boys admit they might have prepared a little better for this final day after probably having a few too many beers on the ferry and heading off with very little water in their bottles. Thankfully they found a coffee shop after 20 miles where they managed to refuel.

Andy told us a little bit more about his dad, Paul. He was born in Hamilton, Ontario in Canada with Andy the middle sibling of three brothers all born in Canada.

Andy McKinney dad coach

As you might guess, Ice Hockey was a favourite sport and when Paul and his sons came to the UK, he coached the Deeside Junior Ice Hockey club, The Deeside Dragons. He was held in great affection by many young people, being seen as a teacher and mentor by everyone who enjoyed their time there.

He lived in Chester for many years before settling in Wirral with his beloved Tarnya whom he met at the winter Ice Rink at Chester Zoo which he managed and where she was head of first aid.

They settled in Wirral where Paul’s passion for the whole region flourished, so much so, that Andy says they could have made him a Blue Badge Tour Guide for visiting friends and relatives.

Before, during and, actually despite his illness, Paul had always motivated his sons to develop positive attitudes, to follow their dreams, travel the world and challenge themselves to new things and sporting achievements.

Andy himself is now playing back at Deeside with the Dragons having spent some years with the Telford Tigers, Manchester Storm and Guildford Flames.

Although he’s too humble to say, a google search shows he’s more than capable of handling himself in a very tough sport!

Andy McKinney playingWith that knowledge we knew that Andy and his great friends were in tip top shape to complete their Chester to Amsterdam cycle challenge.

We’re so very grateful to you and your friends Andy, and you know your dad Paul, would be immensely proud too.

THANK YOU ALL, so, so much!