Media Release: More than 400 NHS Scotland staff take on 81-mile cycling challenge

Liz Phillips

Jamie Hepburn, Scotland’s Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health and Liz Phillips, a GP from Perth & Kinross comment on the 2015 Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia

TOTALLING an incredible eight per cent of total entrants, NHS Scotland employees will be out in strength to take on the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia, a stunning 81-mile closed road cycling sportive, starting from Pitlochry, Perthshire on 10th May 2015.

From midwifes to neurosurgeons, radiographers to physiotherapists, healthcare professionals across the country have been inspired to attempt arguably the UK’s premier cycling event, through either general entries or Pledge Places for official charity partner, Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Liz Phillips, a GP from Perth & Kinross, took up cycling as a way to keep fit, seven years ago, and now rides a 30-mile round trip to her surgery each day, where one of her Marie Curie Cancer Care Daffodil jerseys hangs proudly on the wall.

Liz, who turns 50 in April, has taken part in the Etape Caledonia numerous times, seeing the event as the lynchpin of her year, providing focus for training and her fundraising for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Liz Phillips said: “The Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia has an incredible atmosphere, with the whole town of Pitlochry getting involved, it really makes me feel proud to live in Perth & Kinross.

“My surgery is big into cycling too, in fact, most of the money I raise each year is through patients and you’ll often find bikes in the consulting rooms! After the event, I will go straight to work 6pm-midnight at the GP out of hours service in Dunfermline, which I’ve done the last two years of the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia and it can be quite fun.

“In my daily job, I see a lot of patients and their families going through the palliative and terminal stages of cancer. Families carry a heavy care burden as well as the extreme emotional burden of having a loved one with cancer.

“The provision of a Marie Curie Cancer Care nurse overnight can bring much needed rest, with the confidence that, should anything happen someone will be on hand to care. Supporting patients living with cancer is an extremely rewarding part of our job and Marie Curie is instrumental in achieving that.”

With entrants signed up from the NHS Boards of Ayrshire & Arran, Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, Fife, Forth Valley, Grampian, Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Highland, Lanarkshire, Lothian and Tayside the total number of NHS Scotland employees to take on the event has surpassed 400.

Jamie Hepburn, Scotland’s Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, commented: “Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia is fast becoming one of Scotland’s top sports participation events, and its growing success is a sign of how popular cycling has become.

“It’s great to hear that so many NHS staff will be taking part in the event. Health workers understand how important it is to keep active – both for your physical and mental health. They also know what a fantastic job Marie Curie Cancer Care nurses do, and I’ve no doubt that’s the reason why so many of them have chosen to support this tremendous charity.”

The 2014 edition saw participants raise more than £350,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care, contributing vital funds that enabled the charity to provide care for more than 40,000 terminally ill people and their families across the UK. But, the charity has ambitions to go even further this year, with fundraisers aiming a target of raising at least £380,000 between them.

James Wright, from Marie Curie, commented: “A must for any keen cyclist, the Etape Caledonia is a unique event that has participants coming back year after year. It has clearly proved popular with our friends at NHS Scotland and we’re delighted to see so many health workers taking on the challenge. It’s a great way to meet new people and fundraise for Marie Curie, letting us help more people that need it.”

As the UK’s first closed road cycling event, the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia is a bucket list event within the cycling community.

Offering over 5,000 participants the opportunity to ride in one of the most breath-taking locations in the UK, general entries for the sportive which takes place on Sunday 10th May 2015, have sold out in just three days but Charity Pledge Places are still available.

James Robinson, managing director of event organisers, IMG Challenger World, added: “The Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia sees overwhelming interest from across Scotland and the rest of the UK each year.

“It’s great to see NHS Scotland, the country’s biggest employer, having such huge presence at the event, with many fundraising for our Official Charity Partner to support the work they do to care for terminally ill people.”

General entries sold out in just three days but a limited amount of Charity Pledge Places are still available to hopeful participants. To join the Marie Curie Cancer Care ‘Daffodil Team’ prospective participants should visit to book their entries now.

For further info, interviews and photography please contact IMG Press Team:

Becky Bowler, 07734861189,

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Contact: Becky Bowler