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Andy uses pedal power to help hospice

A Wrekin Housing Trust employee who lost both parents to cancer has taken on a gruelling cycling challenge to help raise funds for the Shropshire hospice which cared for them.

Andy Johnson takes on gruelling cycle challenge for charityAndy Johnson completed the Tour of Pembrokeshire Sportive, which was a bike ride of more than 108 miles, with almost 3,000 metres of hills and climbs, around the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast line.

Andy works as head of housing at The Wrekin Housing Trust and said he was inspired to enter the event after turning 50, when he decided he needed a fresh challenge. Andy raised £408 for The Severn Hospice and said he was delighted when The Trust agreed to match fund the money raised, bringing his total to £816.

He said: “Last summer myself and a mate Mark O’Toole bought bikes and we set our sights on doing a few rides for charity. The first one was a 50km ride for The Severn Hospice last September where we raised more than £1,100 for the charity thanks to The Wrekin Housing Trust’s generous match-funding. Following that we agreed, over a beer or two, to tackle something that was more of a challenge, and so we decided to do the Tour Of Pembrokeshire Sportive.”

The Tour of Pembrokeshire, which has been tackled by some top-name cyclists including Chris Boardman MBE, is established as a must-do event for sportive riders. It’s tough climbs and swooping descents are teamed with quiet country roads and breath-taking costal scenery.

Andy said: “I can honestly say this was the toughest thing that I have ever done, especially at 91 miles when my legs were saying no more, but my head would not listen. It was at that point that we turned a corner to be met with a 20% gradient climb of more than 2 miles. However, we finally crossed the line many hours later, with the majority of the 1,200 riders that took part already finished. Within 30 seconds of finishing I immediately started my re-hydration and sank a much deserved cold lager.”

The father-of-one said he chose to raise funds for The Severn Hospice because of the care they showed his parents in their last days.

“Both my parents spent their last days at the hospice, and the care they received was outstanding,” he said.

“Mark, who is a GP in Oakengates, has also managed to raise £428 for The Ben Corfield Charity for Sick Children. I’d like to thank everyone that sponsored me, and let them know that we already have plans for the Cardiff To Tenby 100 mile ride next year.”

3rd July 2018