Former Claverham pupil’s epic ride in aid of Diabetes UK

Greg Stonard cycling to John O' Groats to raise money for Diabetes UK. 20/8/12 Hastings.
Greg Stonard cycling to John O' Groats to raise money for Diabetes UK. 20/8/12 Hastings.

CHARITY champion Greg Stonard has saddled up for the challenge of a lifetime by cycling 1,000 miles between Land’s End and John O’Groats.

The 22-year-old former Claverham Community College and Bexhill College pupil set out from the Cornish landmark on Wednesday to take on the epic challenge.

Greg set off on the train to Cornwall on Tuesday (August 21) and aims to ride up to 90 miles a day and reach the famous Scottish village on the coast next Sunday (September 2).

He was inspired to raise money for Diabetes UK after his cousin died last year from the illness.

John Hartley was found dead in his sleep aged just 21.

Greg is being accompanied by his friend Charles Williams, aged 23, from London.

They are taking all their equipment on their bikes and aim to use their tents overnight or a local youth hostel.

Greg is preparing to start his fifth year of a degree in architecture at Cardiff University.

He has already raised £400 towards his target of £800.

And on the way back he is hoping to call in and see his father Simon who lives and works in Aberdeen.

He said: “It’s going to be the trip of a lifetime.

“It’s more excitement than nerves to be honest.

“I have only been cycling for three or four years while at university.

“The furthest I have ever ridden on my bike is 70 miles so this is a real challenge for me.”

The pair hope to follow the Cornwall and Devon coast before going through Bristol and up to Herefordshire to join the A49.

They will then travel to Lancashire and through the north west across the Pennines into Yorkshire and up on the A1 towards the borders.

After crossing into Scotland they will follow the east coast before hitting the Highlands and the Cairngorms along the A9 up to the very tip of the north coast.

According to Diabetes UK, most health experts agree that the UK is facing a huge increase in the number of people with diabetes.

Since 1996 the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has increased from 1.4 million to 2.9 million.

By 2025 it is estimated that five million people will have diabetes.

Most of these cases will be Type 2 diabetes, because of our ageing population and rapidly rising numbers of overweight and obese people.

The charity says it is one of the biggest health challenges facing the UK today.

Greg, who lives in St Leonards, added: “It is a cause that is very close to my heart.

“My family was directly affected by John’s death and we are trying to raise as much as possible during our trip.

“Going up the hills will be hard work with all our weight on.

“I think we will have to try and lean over the front wheel as we take on the hills.

“But coming down them should be a lot of fun.

“We should be able to pick up a fair bit of speed.

“It will be an unforgettable experience.”

To sponsor Greg visit justgiving.com/greg-stonard