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Team to cycle from London to Paris in memory of Ipswich High School for Girls’ Dawn Blake

PUBLISHED: 15:01 06 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:29 11 September 2017

Left to right, Livvy Patten, Sandie Lister, Jude Marvell and Maddy Godfrey. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Left to right, Livvy Patten, Sandie Lister, Jude Marvell and Maddy Godfrey. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A team of cyclists from Ipswich High School for Girls are gearing up for an epic 300-mile challenge in memory of a “warm, kind-hearted and generous” former teacher.

Left to right, Livvy Patten and Maddy Godfrey. Picture: GREGG BROWNLeft to right, Livvy Patten and Maddy Godfrey. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Lower Sixth students Maddy Godfrey and Livvy Patten, both 16, will join teachers Sandie Lister and Jude Marvell on a ride from London to Paris from September 19-23.

The group are aiming to raise £8,000 for St Elizabeth Hospice, where former sports coach at the school Dawn Blake spent her last days during a battle with cancer.

Dawn was aged in her 40s when she died three years ago.

Livvy said Dawn had inspired her to take up netball, adding: “She was very supportive and she always let you play different positions and find out where you were comfortable playing. She was really nice.”

Dawn Blake (second right) with the PE department at Ipswich High School for Girls. Picture: IPSWICH HIGH SCHOOL FOR GIRLSDawn Blake (second right) with the PE department at Ipswich High School for Girls. Picture: IPSWICH HIGH SCHOOL FOR GIRLS

Describing her former colleague, Sandie, who is head of Year 10 and teaches PE, said: “She was very warm, kind-hearted and a very generous person.

“She gave a lot to the students and she would do anything for anyone.”

Geography teacher Jude, who is also assistant head of sixth form, said she hoped gestures like this would help to keep Dawn’s memory alive.

To this end, a new fitness suite which opened at the school in 2015 was named after Dawn so new pupils who never met her would know the contribution she made.

St Elizabeth Hospice supports people across Suffolk living with a progressive illness and runs an inpatient unit in Ipswich. The service costs £9.1m a year, with almost 75% coming from community donations.

Jude said a large number of students had been affected by cancer in some way, so it was a cause close to many of their hearts.

Sandie added: “There are quotes about how much it costs for an hour of nurse’s time at the hospice so for us as much money as we can raise would be brilliant as we are helping towards the care of someone who has been put in that position. The hospice relies on donations and charitable work and without that it wouldn’t exist.”

This will be the first time all four riders have taken on a challenge on this scale, and Maddy said she was both nervous and excited for the adventure.

To donate, see here.

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