Full day on a bike raises big total for good cause

Simon Hughes, who lives in Stannington, with daughter Kelly at the finish of this year's Ride 24 in London.
Simon Hughes, who lives in Stannington, with daughter Kelly at the finish of this year's Ride 24 in London.

A Stannington man has surpassed his fund-raising target after successfully completing a tough cycling challenge.

The Ride 24 activity, organised by Action Challenge, saw 350 participants attempt to ride a bike from Newcastle to Smithfield Market in London – a total of 312 miles – in less than 24 hours.

Simon Hughes managed to achieve this and he was delighted with his time of 23 hours and 15 minutes, making him the 96th rider to finish.

The 62-year-old, who works for Mann and Hummel Vokes Air and is a member of the Northumberland-based EMC club, has raised over £3,000 for Ehlers-Danlos Support UK, which helps people with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS). This is more than double his initial goal.

He was greeted at the finish by his wife Dyanne, daughter Kelly, who has EDS, and a close family friend. The route is broken down into seven stages, all between 40 and 50 miles, with rest stops at the end of each leg to take on food and drink.

Mr Hughes said: “On the whole, the weather was kind, although the section from Scunthorpe to Sleaford was tricky because the route had now swung to the south west, which was where the wind was coming from.

“The final stage of 46 miles was the hilliest section of all. However, when the end is in sight it is not difficult to stay focused and motivated and when I and the other riders with me saw a sign saying we were just two miles from the end point, spirits rose, smiles lit up our faces and leg weariness disappeared.

“I’m very grateful to everyone who has made a donation. People have been very generous – from family members, friends and work colleagues to complete strangers.”

EDS is a genetic disorder in which the structure of connective tissue is abnormal due to a gene mutation. This results in abnormally fragile and hyper-extensible tissues throughout the body, which can lead to multi-systemic symptoms such as joint pain, easy bruising and brain fog.

For more information about the work of Ehlers-Danlos Support UK and to make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/simon-hughes27