Selby Sportive Celebrates Seven Years

20 August 2019

Selby’s charity sportive is set to celebrate its seventh year in September, with more than a thousand cyclists expected to peddle their way to the finish line. 

The Selby Three Swans Sportive, organised by Yorkshire Cancer Research in partnership with Selby Cycling Club and Inspiring healthy lifestyles, has to date raised more than £100,000 to fund vital research and services in the region. 

This year, the popular bike ride has been included as one of the official church and community events supported by Selby District Council as part of its year-long celebrations marking 950 years since the town’s abbey was founded. 

The sportive will take place on Sunday, September 1, with a choice of 30, 63 and 100 miles. The event’s flat and picturesque routes, which start and finish at the famous Selby Abbey, have become firm favourites with beginners eager to complete their first sportive and more seasoned cyclists looking for a personal best.  

Gavin Greatrex, from Sherburn in Elmet, is among those preparing to take part. The 83-year-old will be riding in memory of his daughter, Jennifer, who died from breast cancer in June at the age of 54. 

Gavin Greatrex is preparing to take part in the Selby Three Swans Sportive with his eldest daughter, Sue Jannati, in memory of his younger daughter, Jennifer, who recently passed away from breast cancer.

Jennifer, who worked as a logistics manager for a freight company, was just 39 when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. Her family say she survived for 15 years thanks to advances in treatment and the excellent care she received at St James’s University Hospital, Leeds. 

Jennifer was a keen runner and cyclist, taking part in events such as the Great North Run even when she was undergoing chemotherapy treatment. She also volunteered for charity, providing massages for cancer patients and undertaking other charity work. 

Gavin said: “We all miss her so much. She was a lovely lass; a very loving, extrovert person who was well-liked. She looked after us even though she was going through so much herself, and she had a special relationship with her sister’s children and grandchildren. They were all very close. She loved running for charity and about five years ago she got into cycling too. 

Jennifer Greatrex (left) died from breast cancer in June this year, 15 years after first being diagnosed. She is pictured with her sister Sue.

“Jenny went through a lot of treatment over the years, but she was always so optimistic. She never gave up. She’d investigate new treatments and even grew organic food – anything to help her get better. The doctors thought she was a miracle. They were amazed by how she kept going. Every single person she saw as far as treatment was concerned was brilliant. We can’t thank the nurses from St Leonard’s Hospice enough for looking after her so well before she died.”

Gavin started cycling at the age of 68 after suffering from dizzy spells. At the time he weighed 16 stone and had type 2 diabetes. His doctor informed him that he had high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and that he should try exercising regularly.  

He said: “I hated cycling to start with, but then I joined a group of guys and three years later I was fit enough to join a club. Within three years, I had no high blood pressure and my diabetes had gone away.”

Gavin has since taken part in numerous sportives and long-distance cycling challenges, including a 205km ride in the Pyrenees mountain range called the Quebrantahuesos Gran Fondo three times.

He added: “Cycling has made a new life for me. It’s made me feel young again, and I shall keep cycling as long as I can.”

Gavin will be taking part in the Selby Three Swans Sportive for the fifth time, and will be joined on the 60 mile route by his elder daughter Sue Jannati and friends. 

Yorkshire Cancer Research Chief Executive Dr Kathryn Scott and the charity’s Director of Research and Services, Dr Stuart Griffiths, will also take part on the day. 

Dr Kathryn Scott, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research, and Dr Stuart Griffiths, Director of Research and Services at the charity, will also take part in the event.

This year’s Selby Three Swans is supported by sponsors including Lion Fitness, Maximuscle, Get More Vits, KIND snacks and Fyffes.

For more information and to sign up, visit



About Yorkshire Cancer Research
•    Yorkshire Cancer Research was founded in 1925 and is the largest independent regional cancer charity in England (Registered Charity 516898). We are not part of a national charity. 
•    Current statistics show that 583 people are diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire every week. 
•    Our mission is for 2,000 more people to survive cancer every year in Yorkshire. 
•    There are lots of cancer problems across the region that need to be tackled on a local level. We work in partnership with researchers, clinicians, the NHS, public health bodies and other charities to fund innovative work in four key areas: prevention, early diagnosis, treatment and clinical trials. 
•    For more information, please visit or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.


Nikki Brady, Senior PR Officer, Yorkshire Cancer Research. Tel: 01423 877228. Email:


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