Charity heroine cycles home

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The Independent Online

Crying tears of joy, dying mother-of-three Jane Tomlinson embraced her husband and children after cycling into Leeds today to complete her epic Rome to Home bike ride.

Crying tears of joy, dying mother-of-three Jane Tomlinson embraced her husband and children after cycling into Leeds today to complete her epic Rome to Home bike ride.

"You're not home until you are with your family," she said tearfully, after hugging husband Mike and children Suzanne, 19, and Steven, seven."I'm just so glad to be back and - I really, really mean it - this is the end of my fundraising."

Thousands of people gathered at Leeds Town Hall to give Mrs Tomlinson and herbrother Luke Goward, 39, a real Yorkshire homecoming.

The terminal cancer sufferer has cycled 1,905 miles from Rome on a tandem bike with her brother and raised a massive £160,000 for charity.

Colleagues from Leeds General Infirmary and St James's Hospital in Leeds, where the pair work, turned out to welcome them back, along with Leeds City Council staff, the public and their families.

Her daughter Rebecca, 16, was unable to meet her mother as she is doing her GCSE exams. Her eldest daughter Suzanne was having a double celebration, as it is her 19th birthday today.

Even though her time with her family is limited, the brave woman has spent 36 days away from them and from her job as a paediatric radiographer.

Her brother, who had never been abroad before the trip, has also been away from his wife Karen, 39, and three children Sue, 13, Peter, nine and Tom, eight.

He said: "Fantastic. I'm elated to be back in Leeds. I can't believe we've come all this way to get back home. I'm just glad to be with my family."

In Rome they were given a send-off in St Peter's Square by the mayor of Rome and the deputy British ambassador - and the Catholic siblings even received a blessing from the Pope.

In Paris, the British ambassador invited them to stay at his personal residence, gave them an official reception at the British Embassy and presented them with money raised by the embassy staff.

On May 17, they cycled up 1,909-metre Mont Ventoux - the legendary Tour de France cycle route where champion cyclist Tommy Simpson famously died in 1967.

The route has included Florence, Pisa, Monte Carlo, Amiens, Lille, Paris and then back up the UK through London, Birmingham and Nottingham.

While she has been away, hundreds have logged on to her www.janesappeal.com website to donate money, handed them cash on the bikes and sent money to the appeal's building society.

Husband Mike, 43 , who has been at home with the children, wept with tears of pride as he spoke about his wife's achievements.

"The magnitude of what they have done is amazing. It's quite an achievement to drive it but to ride on a bike for 36 days in her condition - it's amazing. Nobody's ever done this before. It's completely unique.

"Three years ago at this time we couldn't have ever dreamt she was going to be alive another year but to have lived and to do this is just amazing.

Mrs Tomlinson was given months to live three-and a-half-years ago when she was told her breast cancer had spread to her lungs and bones.

Since then she has completed three London Marathons, the London Triathlon, the Gatorade Half-Ironman Triathlon and cycled from John O'Groats to Land's End.

She has now raised a total of £648,000 for charity in the last three years.

All the money raised from this challenge will be split between Sparks, Macmillan Cancer Relief, Leeds Acute Paediatric Services and Hannah House - a respite care centre for children.

Contributions to her appeal can be made online at www.justgiving.com/Janesappeal.

Donations can also be sent to the Jane Tomlinson Appeal, Yorkshire Building Society, Commercial Street, Rothwell, Leeds LS26 0AW. Sort code: 57-00-45. Account No: 5349471430. Telephone donations can be made on 0845 1200 829.

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