This special podcast was aired live from the Pyrenees with my guest Owen Saward, a renewable energy developer. During our live interview, he shares with me the tragic event that altered his life and lead him to embark on a solo cycle from his home in Bristol to the highest peak in Mallorca. Here Owen tells us why.
“On 6th August 2019, Yann died at home in his bed. He was just 52. He was my best friend, the only person in the world who knew me. He was a lot of people’s best friends. The kindness and love in this man were limitless.
One of my first memories is of Yann rescuing me when I got stuck on top of the brick-built Wendy house in the playground at Primary school. I was crying and his tall strong arms (even then!) lifted me down and gave me a hug. I remember being amazed that he did that in front of everyone and I felt so proud he was my big brother. One of my last memories of Yann is him putting his arms around me when he had no strength to lift them and saying ‘I love you. He was always there for me, even when I tried to push him away.
Three things define Yann for me. Continual strength and self-improvement, an incredible ear for great music, and, of course, cycling. Yann loved the freedom of cycling – as daily transport and as a holiday. He often took off for a week and cycled the mountains of Mallorca – a place I’m pretty sure he adopted as his spiritual home. I was always so proud that Yann never really owned a car. No wonder he was so fit.
So when I was looking for a challenge to raise funds in his memory, it seemed natural to follow in his footsteps again – something I realise I’ve been doing all my life.
So, I’m leaving Yann’s home in Bristol, the UK in mid-September, on a bike he built and left to me, to cycle 1100 miles, with a total elevation of around 16,000 feet, to arrive at the highest point on Mallorca to meet Yann’s spirit on his birthday, the 5th October.
The goal is to raise £20,000 for St Peter’s Hospice in Bristol and Cancer Research UK. Sounds like a lot of money, right? Wrong. £20,000 is what it costs St Peter’s Hospice to provide their incredible environment and care for just ONE day. The amount of love, compassion, patience, and humanism in that place is literally superhuman. I honestly cannot imagine how we would have coped or cared for Yann without them.”
Join Owen in his journey on @rideforyann on Instagram and follow all his updates using #RideForYan on Twitter. Take part in his fundraising project for St Peter’s Hospice in Bristol and Cancer Research UK on https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RideForYann/1