FORCE offers face-to-face support to anyone locally affected by cancer.

FORCE Cancer Charity believes that anyone diagnosed with cancer deserves the best possible treatment and professional support face-to-face and close to home. Since 1987 the charity has spent around £2million on local research and bought nearly £1million of equipment to improve patient care at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital.

In 2004 FORCE opened a Cancer Support and Information Centre in the grounds of the RD&E Hospital. It is open every weekday for people needing physical, emotional, psychological and practical support at a difficult time in their lives. In 2015 there were 21,367 visits to the Centre where seven counsellors delivered 2,719 sessions, 3,599 complementary therapy and acupuncture appointments were booked and a benefits advisor based there managed to claim £941,000 for clients.

FORCE also offers support and information sessions once a week in Tiverton and Okehampton and plans to expand its outreach services into East Devon in 2016. All of the charity’s services are free, paid for with funds generated entirely by FORCE from voluntary contributions with no Government funding. “We are here to help, whatever your cancer and wherever you are on your cancer journey. Our Support Centre offers a relaxed and comfortable setting where patients, their families and friends can get information, advice and help. You don’t need a referral so you can drop in at any time and there’s no charge for any of our services,” said FORCE Head of Fundraising. “None of what we do would be possible without the generous support of local people, who support us in so many ways – with donations, by taking part in fundraising events, organising their own fundraisers or giving their time as a volunteer,” she added. Every penny raised really counts locally.

• £25 provides an hour of welfare benefits advice for someone affected by cancer.
• £50 provides a support session lead by a professional for a family affected by cancer.
• £100 funds a cancer researcher for a day in the University of Exeter Medical School.
• £750 runs the FORCE Cancer Support and Information Centre in Exeter for half a day.

A perfect antidote to Dartmoor Classic disappointment
For anyone who failed to get into this year’s Dartmoor Classic, there’s a ready-made, same-day alternative in Devon.

The Nello ride in aid of Exeter-based FORCE Cancer Charity is also on Sunday June 26th with two routes –100 or 55 miles – starting and finishing at Topsham Rugby Club. After a free breakfast, the event begins at 8am at Topsham Rugby Club from where cyclists will head to Tiverton via Poltimore and Killerton, joining the A396 at Ruffwell Lodge. The first food and drink station is at Tiverton Rugby Club. There the route splits and the 100-mile cyclists head to Dulverton via Exebridge, up on to Exmoor via the B3223 to Comers Gate, where there is another refreshment stop. The riders then pedal through Simonsbath and on to South Molton where they can stop at Quince Honey Farm to refuel before heading to Morchard Road via the B3226. For those doing the 55-mile route, they head from Tiverton to Withleigh via the notorious Long Drag Hill, then to Nomansland with a food and drink station at the Mount Pleasant Inn before travelling through Black Dog, Brownstone and Morchard Bishop. The routes then converge at Morchard Road and head back to Exeter via Shobrooke, Efford and Shute, avoiding the centre of Crediton. Riders join the A377 again near Cowley Bridge and come back across Exeter to Topsham Rugby Club, where a team from Exeter Physio will be on hand to offer free treatment, massage and expert advice to any cyclists in need. The Nello is not a sportive, it’s not chip timed and it’s definitely not a race. Entry is capped at 1,500 participants and riders aged between 14 and 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Food and water are provided along the route for free and, according to the cyclists, get better with each stop!

The cost of entry is £35, rising to £50 the week before the event. You can enter at

Paper entry forms are available via event sponsors Bike Shed in their Exeter, Crediton and Barnstaple stores.

Pedal power provides vital funds
Cycling events play a massive part in raising money for FORCE. In 2015 the charity’s three rides – The Nello, Autumn Storm and the Santa Cycle - brought in a staggering combined total of around £100,000!

The Nello, formerly known as the Century Cycle Challenge, is the biggest fundraising event in the FORCE calendar and is always held on the final Sunday in June. The event’s name reflects the history of this very special ride. It started in 2000, in memory of Topsham restaurateur Nello Ghezzo. In 1997 he and a group of friends cycled from Topsham to St Mark’s Square in Venice to raise money for cancer research. When Nello died of cancer in 1999, his friends decided to organise a cycle ride to raise money in his memory. They chose one of their training routes around the Devon countryside. It was one of Nello’s favourites and offers challenging hills, fantastic downhill sections and stunning scenery. The first ride saw a group of 20 take on the 100 mile challenge, rising to 200 cyclists in the second year and by the fourth year it had grown to 400. That’s when the organisation was handed over to FORCE and entries now peak at 1,500 cyclists, showing not only how the support for the event has grown massively but also how popular cycling is across Devon.

Here is a video of last year’s ride

What Nello cyclists said in 2015

Liz Hodges, owner of Route 2 cycle shop in Topsham, after completing her third 100-mile ride: “Today was windy and rainy and a little bit cold you just stop at lots of cake stops which is great. Nello was a good friend and I finally plucked up the courage to do it three years ago. I really, really enjoyed it, lots of friends do it and it’s great that it raises such a fantastic amount of money for FORCE and the legacy of Nello and all my friends.

Exeter Pilates instructor Adele Stickland tackled the 55 mile ride for the first time: “Sunday's event was wet yet exhilarating! It is always so good to see so many cyclists on the roads of Devon raising the profile of a fantastic charity - FORCE. Everybody's efforts were heart-warming - cake makers, sandwich makers, marshals, medal hander outers. It is truly a community effort and event.”

Retired businessman Geoff Humphries from Sidmouth, also made his Nello debut on the shorter route: “A wonderful day out for an oldie, well organised and great fun, even for the inexperienced.”

nello force 2

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