Chris Monk became a trustee at Above & Beyond in July 2016. He brought with him vast experience of working in the NHS as a Cardiac Anaesthetist and Head of Medicine, working at Bristol Royal Infirmary until 2015. Throughout his career, Chris has committed himself to putting the patient first and continues to make patient experience the very best it can possibly be through his involvement with Above & Beyond.

Recently, Chris picked up the moniker ‘hero grandfather’ after this Bristol Post article but when he’s not jumping aboard boats to rescue people mid-lunch, he’s diving head first into our fundraising activities!

Having taken part in the inaugural Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge in 2015, Chris is getting back in the saddle for our city centre hospitals. We sat down with him for a chat:

Why have you decided to take on the Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge 2018?

My reasons for riding B2P 2018 is that as a charity it is difficult to ask people to donate, leave a legacy or raise money by cycling, baking or bungee jumping, unless willing to take an active role oneself. A part of a Trustee's role is to support and encourage by example so, having been part of the inaugural ride, I find myself riding to Paris again. Other Trustees, both present and recently retired, are taking on the challenge so it will be great to be part of a team.

What are your expectations for the ride?

The first B2P was a super experience and a challenge way beyond anything I had done before. It is exciting to know what is ahead but it will be completely fresh as the cyclists and Above & Beyond support team will all be different this time around. So there are new friends to make and new experiences to share.

Besides the inaugural Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge, have you taken part in any other charity challenges?

Earlier in 2017 I took part in the Three Peaks Challenge with Above & Beyond staff members, volunteers, friends and family, raising awareness and funds for the wonderful nursing staff in our hospitals. It was a tremendous experience and testament to the passion and determination shown by the people involved with the charity.

How do you plan on reaching the £1,700 fundraising total?

Raising the money is always the hardest part. I shall donate the sum of money to cover the overhead costs so that all donations given by relatives, friends and colleagues will all go to the charity and the people it helps. The rest will be raised through asking people to donate and I hope that I can join in with other riders to raise money.

What would you say to people thinking about signing up to Bristol to Paris?

Look forward to achieving a great challenge and enjoy every moment. The training is important but Gideon and the team from Classic Challenge look after you, making the challenge possible with less pain and effort than expected!

Have you started training and getting your gear together yet?

I have ridden to work for years so have two bikes "aged" 35 and 11 years. New kit is not an absolute necessity although good and reliable kit is. Perhaps I'll buy a new bike as a reward?

Sign up for the Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge 2018 and contact [email protected] or 0117 927 7120 with any queries.