Pedal power leads to hospital boost

A KESGRAVE couple used pedal power to raise money for a special bed and blanket for babies in intensive care.Mother-of-three Susie Cross and her husband John braved bears, alligators and the elements in a sponsored cycle ride across Florida last November.

A KESGRAVE couple used pedal power to raise money for a special bed and blanket for babies in intensive care.

Mother-of-three Susie Cross and her husband John braved bears, alligators and the elements in a sponsored cycle ride across Florida last November.

The money went towards a Bilibed – a cot designed to make babies more comfortable while undergoing treatment for jaundice – for Ipswich Hospital's maternity ward.

The couple made the 680-mile trip in a fortnight, cycling on interstate highways and through national parks.

Mrs Cross, 45, of Bell Lane, said: "It was a wonderful adventure, although it was much harder than I imagined."

On their travels, the couple saw a rodeo complete with real cowboys, and braved alligators in the sunshine state's famous Everglades.

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Mrs Cross said: "The alligators don't take any notice of you. I was prepared for them, but not for the bears."

The cyclists decided to take a break from sleeping in a two-man tent for one night after seeing signs warning visitors of wild bears in the Ocala national forest.

"But a local Native American man told us: 'The bears aren't too much trouble – it's the panthers you have to worry about'," Mrs Cross said.

Despite these dangers, and the tail end of a hurricane that brought torrential rain on the last few days of the expedition, Mr and Mrs Cross completed the trip safely and managed to raise nearly £700 for the Bilibed fund.

The rest of the £2000 needed to buy the equipment came from the fundraising efforts of hospital staff and a large donation from the Stone Lodge Community Centre in Ipswich.

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