THE chairman of a Lancashire-based Nissan dealer group has clocked up enough miles to keep a Chorley charity running for the next 12 months.
Andy Turner, of the Chorley Group, got on his bike in aid of Chorley MENCAP – and raised the funds to cover the organisation’s running costs for a full year.
Kind-hearted Andy, 55, embarked on the gruelling 1100km cycle ride, which followed the River Rhine through Switzerland, Germany, France and Holland, after being set the challenge by his 58-year-old brother, Peter.
And despite several mishaps en route, which resulted in numerous injuries and a hospital visit, Andy and Peter pedalled their way to the finishing line in Rotterdam in just nine and a half days, resulting in a £8,300 windfall for Chorley MENCAP.
To make the feat all the more remarkable Andy had jumped into the saddle just months after undergoing major back surgery.
Andy and Peter were presented with a yellow jersey by grateful members of Chorley MENCAP, who formed a guard of honour to welcome them back to Lancashire.
Andy said: “It was probably the biggest physical challenge of my life. It was extremely tough but also extremely enjoyable.
“Had it not been for one or two accidents and incidents along the way, we probably would have shaved a day off the time.
“I sprained my wrist, I strained my groin, I twisted my ankle and then towards the end I was involved in a collision with an oncoming cyclist, which resulted in me splitting my head open, damaging my elbow and hip and, most importantly, my pride! Other than that, I came through relatively unscathed!!”
Andy’s proud brother, Peter, an experienced cyclist who also took part in the challenge, added: “At one point I did find him hiding in a toilet, saying he couldn’t take any more!
“In all seriousness he did very well considering he’s only been riding for six months and only recently underwent back surgery. I must confess I didn’t think he’d be able to do it so he really surprised me.”
Chorley MENCAP started its long chequered history in 1952 when three mothers decided to establish a facility for children and adults with learning difficulties. The centre is not funded by the government and is completely dependent on donations and fundraising for its survival.
The Chorley Group have been keen sponsors of Chorley MENCAP for six years and the company’s Finance Director, Hilary Nicol, is treasurer of the charity.
Linda Hargreaves-Wilde, Chorley MENCAP chairman said: “This means absolutely everything to us.
“This money will keep us going for another year without us having to worry, which means we can continue to provide vital services for teenagers and adults with learning difficulties in the Chorley area.
“Andy and Peter are two amazing men and we are so proud of them and what they’ve achieved.”
Andy added: “The generosity of people has been absolutely amazing. The amount we’ve managed to raise is better than we ever could have possibly imagined. We are so grateful to everyone who has supported us.”
Donations can still be made for the challenge by visiting their JustGiving page https://www.justgiving.com/chorleygroup/