Great-grandfather, 77, who owns Ilkeston chippie, cycles 73 MILES for hospice

Cheque presentation to Treetops from charity fundraiser Dennis Jackson, Dennis is pictured second from left with representatives from Treetops, Jacksons Chippie staff and customers, Ann Shooter, Charles Redfearn, Marrie Redfearn and Vinnie the dog
Cheque presentation to Treetops from charity fundraiser Dennis Jackson, Dennis is pictured second from left with representatives from Treetops, Jacksons Chippie staff and customers, Ann Shooter, Charles Redfearn, Marrie Redfearn and Vinnie the dog

A 77-year-old Ilkeston great-grandfather who owns a chip shop in the town has raised more than £1,300 for a hospice from a charity cycle ride.

Dennis Jackson, who has run Jacksons’ Chippie on Market Street for 54 years, cycled 73 miles to Skegness from Burton Joyce with his eldest son Harvey, 52.

Customers to the chippie guessed a time they thought Dennis would complete the ride in and a made donation to chosen Risley-based charity, Treetops Hospice Care. The top three guesses also get either £30, £20 or £10 in fish and chips from his shop.

Dennis recorded a time of three hours, 32 minutes and 30 seconds.

“I found it very hard this year,” Dennis said.

“For the past 11 years I have cycled to Skegness for a local charity, it is a different one every year.

“It used to be a veterans time trial with 60 or 70 riders. It isn’t a race anymore but me and Harvey still use it as a charity event.”

Dennis, who lives near Heanor and used to be in the RAF, runs the chippie with his wife Margaret and staff.

Dennis, who is 78 next month, has three sons - Harvey, Mark, 50 and Paul 47, and four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Every year the chip shop chooses a charity to raise vital funds for, with previous donations going towards Macmillan, Help for Heroes, Ilkeston Community Hospital and Ilkeston charity Ben’s Den.

“This year when we decided to raise money for Treetops it became apparent that a lot of people had a connection with the hospice,” Dennis said.

“People were saying things like ‘they helped my mum’ and ‘they are terrific’.

“I think Treetops was the big draw for a lot of people, we have only raised more than £1,000 once before.”

Treetops provides nursing care and emotional support for adults and their families in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. Their services, provided free of charge, includes a day care unit open Monday to Friday where nurses, health care assistants and volunteers support people with progressive life-limiting illnesses.

Former Jacksons’ employee, Ann Shooter, asked Dennis to ride for Treetops this year as she attends day care each Wednesday at the hospice.

“I worked for Dennis back in the 1980s and I knew he was thinking of a local charity to support,” Anne said. “They do so such good work at Treetops so I suggested them.

“It’s brilliant at Treetops. We have a laugh and a joke and they can’t do enough for you.”

The cheque was presented to Treetops’ community fundraiser Hannah Taylor at the shop on Thursday, July 14.

Hannah said: “We’re thrilled that Dennis chose Treetops this year.

“This money will make such a difference to the hospice as we have to raise over £3million each year so we can continue to offer all our services to local people for free. A big thanks from us to him and all his customers!”

Dennis told the Advertiser that he hopes to continue to be able to complete the ride for a couple more years yet.

He also said that he still loves running the chip shop because Ilkeston is a “great town”.

The bike ride took place on Sunday, June, 19, with Dennis and Harvey setting off at 7.30am.

“Harvey finished the ride in three hours and 12 minutes,” Dennis said.

“After 40 miles I realised that I was holding him back so I told him to go on ahead.

“We would just like to say a great big thank you to the Ilkeston people for their generosity.”

Call the chip shop on: 0115 932 5741

For more information about Treetops Hospice, go to: www.treetopshospice.org.uk or call 0115 959 1264.