Myles Butler

Myles’ story: “Our lives were thrown into utter turmoil”

“My Mum was murdered when I was six years old. This was probably one of the hardest things to deal with as a child… my Dad was wrongly taken away from me too and mine and my sister’s lives were thrown into utter turmoil.

I chose to ride the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey100 for Winston’s Wish because I didn’t have very much support as a child, which has unfortunately taken its toll. I was left in the corner of the classroom when I first went back to school as teachers didn’t know how to help. If support from a charity like Winston’s Wish was more readily available back then, I’m sure it would have been offered.

Having now received counselling as an adult over the past few years I thought I would give back, to help those that may be going through something similar to what I did, helping them sooner rather than later on in life.

Some may not know, but there are around 600 homicides in the UK each year. Many of these will be of parents or siblings of children who are left overwhelmed and bewildered by what has happened. A family may feel very alone in their grief but sadly, more people are bereaved through homicide than most realise. Government figures suggest a child is bereaved through homicide daily. These children and young people are often the ‘hidden victims’ left to exist, survive, grieve and despair behind the sensationalism and media frenzy, behind police investigations, inquests, court hearings, trials and appeals and behind the trauma, shock and outrage of what has happened. These are ordinary children in extraordinary circumstances.

I bought a bike just a year ago to help get fit, cycling a couple of times a month. I’d already bought a place in the RideLondon 46 mile ride and then decided to look for a charity to ride for. When I came across Winston’s Wish I really related to their vision. I wanted to help children who have also lost a parent, and after seeing their places advertised for the 100mile route, decided to give it my all and signed up for the longer route.

Just 3 months after getting in touch with our Fundraising Team, Myles was in the saddle, wearing his coral jersey, and on his way around the iconic RideLondon-Surrey100 route!

“The furthest I’d ever rode before the event was 40 miles. It’s an incredible route and I still managed to take in all of the sights including the beauty of the Thames and the famous landmarks despite the heavy rain and a bit of cramp near Wimbledon.

The noise from the crowds at Pall Mall was exhilarating and gave me such a boost to keep going to the end with everyone cheering you on. Coming around the corner at Trafalgar Square the atmosphere gets everyone going again; me and the other cyclists were going like the clappers!

These were some of the best parts, as well as people being so supportive. On the day, a lady and her children spotted my Winston’s Wish jersey and were shouting “Go Winston’s Wish!” it was amazing to hear this and was really uplifting.

Myles initially set a fundraising target for his challenge of £1,000, but has since reached an incredible £4,000 – every penny of which will help bring hope to grieving children.

Myles butler

“I linked the Strava riding app to my Facebook page and Just Giving which helped to show people every time I was training – they could see the dedication and time I was putting into the challenge.

I think what helped most in raising so much was being really truthful about my story, and sharing it loads so that people understood why I was riding for Winston’s Wish.

People who never knew about my experience as a child then donated after seeing my updates on Facebook and LinkedIn.

A few days before the ride I wanted to increase my goal more, and could feel that I needed a bit more positivity to encourage me on the day. I did some more updates and asks for sponsorship which helped my fundraising grow even more. Being able to look at the Just Giving notification come through on my phone, then reading the comment from a friend or family member straight away gave me the big confidence boost I needed. I thanked everyone individually for their donations straight away, and when the ride got difficult at points like Leith Hill, I just remembered exactly why I was riding for Winston’s Wish.”