Updated: Tuesday, 12th December 2017 @ 5:33pm

From St Ann's Hospice to Rio 2016: Olympic hopeful on helping others as he prepares for track glory

From St Ann's Hospice to Rio 2016: Olympic hopeful on helping others as he prepares for track glory

| By Andrew Greaves

Team GB Olympic cycling hopeful Lewis Oliva could be forgiven for want to rest up after a hard day on the track.

But instead of going home and kicking back with a nap or a couple of games on the X-Box or PS4, the 22-year-old chooses to go the extra mile to try and make a difference to those suffering from life-limiting illnesses such as cancer.

Lewis is keeping his feet firmly on the ground in the lead up to Rio 2016 by helping out as a volunteer at St Ann's Hospice in Heald Green.

After hurtling round the track at the Manchester Velodrome, Lewis leaves his bike behind to go round the hospice wards at a more leisurely pace serving drinks to patients.

Lewis is one of the up and coming members of the celebrated Great Britain cycling squad and is hoping to earn selection for their sprint team at the Olympic Games.

Caring for others on his fortnightly visits to the hospice is a way of relaxing away from the demands of top flight sport.

Lewis got involved with the charity after his grandfather Keith Green was treated at a hospice near the family home in Monmouthshire, South Wales.

He said: "My grandfather's been through the health care system and that's how my interest in helping St Ann's came about. I wanted to pay a little back and my role involves carrying out general ward duties.

"Working at the hospice can put things into perspective. There is a lot of stress and pressure trying to execute a race plan in elite track cycling but we're only riding a bike round a track.

"When you go to St Ann's and meet the staff and patients you realise there's actually a lot more pressure on saving and prolonging lives. 

"Volunteering gives me a huge sense of fulfilment and I'm doing something meaningful. Cyclists can tend to think the world revolves around the Velodrome because it's our profession but helping a charity like St Ann's makes you realise there's a lot going on outside the sport."

Lewis, a World and European bronze medallist, admits he was slightly overawed when he joined the British squad as a junior in 2008.

"I was a little star struck at first sharing the track with Olympic champions such as Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Jason Queally. 

"I've got a real chance of being selected for the team for Rio. It's coming to the sharp end of the selection process and this crunch time will require a lot of ability, hard work and dedication."