Family complete epic ride in memory of Alan
Above: The Fisher family, with Jane Hanna OBE, third from left, and Steve Brine MP for Winchester, fourth from left.
Kate Fisher, husband Scott and sons Tom and Ben completed their epic cycle ride from London – Winchester – Bristol over the weekend of April 29&30 to mark what would have been the 60th birthday of Kate’s brother Alan. In the process, they raised more than £8,000 for SUDEP Action.
Alan Pring was just 27 when he died of SUDEP in 1990.
Kate said: “It was a brilliant two days, we covered 160 miles with 6,000ft of elevation. Riding out of London on Saturday morning was really moving, having been seen off by a friend of Alan’s from his university days at King’s College. We had an amazing back-up crew and the support of so many friends and family along the way.”
The cities of London, Winchester and Bristol were all important in Alan’s life – he grew up in Bristol, where he attended the QEH School and represented Bristol and South of England Schools at rugby. He then studied law at King’s College and the Bar School in London, gaining a position in Pump Court Chambers before moving to Winchester Chambers in 1989.
Following Alan’s death, his partner Jane spoke on BBCs Watchdog programme. Subsequently, Jane, Alan’s mother Sheila and three other mothers who had lost children to SUDEP began a campaign for more research into epilepsy-related deaths. Other people began to come forward with similar stories and the charity Epilepsy Bereaved – now known as SUDEP Action – was started in 1995, in Winchester. Alan’s former partner Jane Hanna OBE is now the charity’s CEO.
At the time of Alan’s death, SUDEP was barely recognised by anyone, apart from a handful of researchers. In 2022, establishing the causes and contributing factors of epilepsy-related deaths, including SUDEP, was identified as the number one priority for all future epilepsy research by the UK Epilepsy Priority Setting Partnership (PSP).
Jane was in Winchester to greet the riders as they completed day one of their ride, along with Winchester MP Steve Brine and lots of Alan’s old friends and neighbours – from the time he lived in Winchester with Jane.
Kate said: “The brilliant reception at Monk’s Road in Winchester was emotional and we had a lovely evening catching up with Alan’s friends and neighbours. We also had a surprise visit from a close friend of Alan’s from Chambers, who presented us with Alan’s name plaque from Chambers. He had kept it above the door of his workshop since Alan’s death.”
On Sunday, despite a few problems with the van for the support crew, they rode from Winchester to Bristol, where the family live. Cycling through many picturesque villages compensated for the rain and elevation as they stopped off in Devizes for lunch. The sun came out in the afternoon for the final stretch of the journey and they were greeted with a warm reception with balloons, cake and Prosecco as they returned to Oakwood Road.
Jane Hanna said: "It was a truly inspirational cycle challenge for Kate and her family and it was very special for me too, to be back in Winchester with an amazing community of neighbours and friends, in the road where we were so supported in the years following Alan’s death in 1990. Many of these people helped with the birth of SUDEP Action."
The celebrations for Alan’s 60th birthday continue with a garden party in Bristol on the day he would have been 60, May 8th.
You can still make a donation via Catherine Fisher is fundraising for SUDEP Action (justgiving.com)