Funeral home colleagues in Bourne saddle up alongside carers to help animals from alligators to wallabies

Colleagues from a funeral home in Bourne are teaming up with local care homes again to pedal their way to help abandoned exotic pets. RJ Scholes Funeral Directors, in Wherrys Lane, are joining forces with The Cedars and Woodgrange care homes as they attempt the socially-distanced cycling challenge for the Exotic Pet Refuge in Deeping St. James.

Funeral Director Samantha Hampson and Funeral Service Assistants Ben Smith, Dave Fawcett and Terry Dewey from RJ Scholes, part of Central England Co-operative Funeralcare are all taking on the challenge.

Dave, Terry, and Ben are keen cyclists and each year volunteer to organise the ride with Cedars, including working out routes and making sure they are safe and provide the right level of challenge for all involved.

The bike ride will take place on Saturday, 26 September when the team will complete a circular route of 31 miles setting off from The Cedars Nursing Home in Bourne. The route will cover the local towns and villages in the area served by RJ Scholes and the care homes. The team is hoping to raise a minimum of £500 this year which will go towards the care of the animals and the upkeep of the centre. People who would like to show their support can see the 25-strong group at The Bull pub in Market Deeping, The Bertie Arms in Uffington and the Sugarmill in Bourne.

Samantha said that she and her colleagues were delighted to join with staff from local care homes again, as they have a great relationship and are always looking for ways to fundraise together for charities.

She said: “This is the fourth annual ride and it is a great way to work with local care homes and get out into the community and support good causes.

“Last year we raised money for the Butterfield Centre in Bourne which provides vital day care facilities to older residents in the area.

“This year we decided to raise funds for The Exotic Pet Refuge as it is run by volunteers who care for up to 300 birds, mammals and reptiles that will live out the rest of their lives there. They rely on donations often generated on open days which it has not been possible to hold during the pandemic.

“It is hoped that, once it is safe to do so, the Exotic Pet Refuge can visit the care homes with some animals for the residents to see.”

Anyone who would like to support the team can call the funeral home on 01778 394687 to arrange for their donation to be collected.

More information about the Exotic Pet Refuge can be found at

Notes to editors

Picture caption: Funeral Director, Samantha Hampson will be amongst the team pedalling for pets on 26th September to raise funds for the Exotic Pet Refuge.

About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK. 

It is a modern, forward-looking organisation employing over 8,000 staff, with the Society’s principal areas of activity being food, funeral services, and property.

The company’s funeral business consists of over 130 funeral homes across 16 counties, seven florists, masonry production and administration, Bretby Crematorium and Terry Smiths coffin factory.

Central England Co-operative has more than 430 trading outlets in total across 16 counties including; West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. 

The Society has an ambitious food store and funeral home development programme for 2020.

Central England Co-operative is proud of its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.  It is a member of Business in the Community, the membership organisation that stands for responsible business, and has also won many business awards for excellence.  The Society supports several charities including Dementia UK and invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities.

Becoming a member of Central England Co-operative offers a whole host of benefits ranging from collecting points every time you spend in store to earn a share of the profits, access to members activities and community initiatives including the Community Dividend Fund, which hands out grants of up to £5,000 to charities and good causes across the Society’s trading estate.

Find out how to become a Central England Co-operative member by calling 0800 0501 601, emailing or visiting

For more information visit, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, @mycooplife and on Facebook:

Rob Smyth and James Brindle at Central England Co-operative on 01543 414140

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