The Great Weston Tour de France

Jul 22, 2013
The Great Weston Tour de France

Whilst Chris Froome was completing his race to glory this weekend, I spent Sunday trailing behind the 900 cyclists who entered the Great Weston Ride, one of which was my very red faced but determined sister-in-law Emma. The bike ride, a 56 mile trek from Bristol, through the Mendips to Weston-Super-Mare was challenging to say the least; especially given the 29 degree heat but there were some spectacular views along the way.

This is the fourth year of the Great Weston Ride, a charity event which raises awareness and money for Prostate Cancer UK, a charity very close to my heart. With very little training under her belt, the family were really concerned about Emma’s welfare (she’d be the first to admit she was not perhaps as focused as she should have been on the lead up to the ride). As a result, we all spent a very anxious day eagerly awaiting the few texts we received informing us of her progress, until the moment when a dot appeared on the horizon and in the scorching afternoon heat of the Weston Super Mare sun, in she came to the finishing line. AMAZING! Well done Emma, we are all very proud of you. You certainly did it for the walnuts (those who have experienced problems with the prostate, or prostrate as my mother-in-law calls it will almost certainly relate to the walnut comment!).

Those of you who follow me on twitter may have seen the article I commented on this morning regarding the use of zero hour contracts in the NHS. I find it incredible to believe that such highly skilled people could face a situation like this and quite frankly am more than a little concerned about the consequences. Having worked in management for many years, I know first hand that the key to a successful happy workforce is to create an environment of openness and trust, where people feel secure and in turn committed to their role. Will a zero hour contract which offers no security, no guarantee of work and fewer rights really instil the same principles? I fear not.

As I said in my tweet, perhaps this is the time to think about health insurance. Speaking from personal experience, I have relied on my private health insurance many times over recent years and am so thankful that it gave me access to people like Christopher Eden, the surgeon who performed my operation (he certainly knows all there is to know about walnuts!!). 

Of course I know that we still need to rely on the NHS and its marvellous staff for some healthcare issues but in a world of uncertainty, the protection I get from my health insurance helps me feel reassured and secure. If only the same could be said for the poor NHS employees facing these possible changes in their contracts!

By Ashley Shepherd

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