To support Trustees’ Week we have an interview with our trustee Sue Bentley MBE. Trustees’ Week is an annual event to showcase the great work that trustees do and highlight opportunities for people from all walks of life to get involved and make a difference.
Trustees are the people in charge of a charity. They help to make the UK the sixth most giving country in the world. and they play a vital role, volunteering their time and working together to make important decisions about the charity’s work.
“When I was invited to join the Board of Cycling Projects my aim was to become involved in the Treasurer role, something I had done for another charity for many years and which I found interesting. I had been asked by several charities to join their board, but I choose Cycling Projects because my husband had taken up cycling after years of badly reduced mobility, and the sense of freedom and independence it gave him was wonderful to see.
“What I didn’t expect was that the charity would be helpful for me too. I had a knee replacement some years ago and I was feeling very timid about getting on a bike. I had tried many times but there was always a shot of bad pain caused by the rotation of the pedals which frightened me, I thought I was damaging my knee replacement. To be honest I was also afraid of falling off.
“I went to a Wheels For All session in Warrington run by Chris, a helpful and gentle ex policeman with a matter of fact attitude and a lot of technical skill. He got me on a big sturdy trike with a low wheel base and a small turning circle to the pedals, and then asked me just push the left leg. He strolled beside me chatting about this and that, I was actually shaking with nerves and I am NOT a timid person. It was a nice sunny day and as we moved slowly around, with me resting my right (titanium) leg and pushing with my left leg while listening to him with interest. Suddenly he grinned and I realised I was using BOTH legs.
“There was no pain and I was fine. Gradually over the weeks I moved from the big trike to a trike with a more standard turning circle. Then I began doing circuits until I had done two miles all the way around the track. It was very slow and deliberate, I set the pace myself and nobody pushed me. Each week I did a little more on slightly less structured bikes and trikes. Some weeks it seemed hard again and I went back to the big trike. That was absolutely fine by everyone.
“I am now planning to buy a bike and join my husband on his rides.
“For me, Cycling Projects gave me the confidence to try cycling again in a safe and supported environment, where nobody minded if I couldn’t bring myself to push the pedal one week after having successfully done it the week before. That’s okay, some days things seem harder than on other days. Just relax and rest your leg its fine. I didn’t have to keep up with a fast moving pack of riders, and if I got anxious I simply got off and walked. Nobody minded that either it was the most non judgemental group of people I have ever met!
“Cycling will help my heart health and my weight control, and will also give me a real mental health boost.
“I am really glad I became a Trustee of Cycling Projects and I hope I can help them in return for many years.”
Sue Bentley MBE
Posted: 16 November, 2018
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