A Christleton-born surgeon has finished a gruelling 1,000-mile bicycle ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise more than £2,000 for local charities.
Paul Edwards, one of the longest-serving vascular and general surgeons at the Countess of Chester Hospital, completed the 16-day ride to raise the money for the Children’s Cancer Support Group and Crisis.
He averaged 60 miles a day carrying his equipment in two panniers and staying at bed and breakfast places en route.
Paul, who works part-time after taking early retirement from the NHS, said: “After hours riding through the rain and wind, I was glad of a hot meal and a hot shower.”
He added that one of the high points of his trip was the kindness of strangers who stopped for a chat, offered help when he had technical problems, or made donations on the spot.
He said: “People were incredibly kind and I met some amazing people everywhere from Cornwall to Scotland. Cycling along some fabulous canals towpaths and by the side of the River Tay also makes me appreciate the beauty of the British countryside.”
It was however not all plain sailing. Paul said that some days the cold, wet, noisy traffic, and cumulative fatigue could be quite disheartening and going up some of the steep hills in Devon was especially testing.
He said he was also saddened to see so much litter scattered along the side of the roads, particularly non-biodegradable plastic and aluminium cans.
An ex-pupil of Ellesmere Port Grammar School, Paul studied medicine at Downing College, Cambridge, in 1971.
His daughters Ellie, 18, and Nicky, 15, students at Chester Catholic High School, said: “We’re really proud of dad, especially as only one of his knees works properly and he’s used to everyone running around after him.”
Although long-distance cycling has only recently become one of his hobbies, Paul is no stranger to physical hardship, having led treks to Everest Base Camp and the Haute route in the Alps.
His ride, sponsored by numerous friends and well-wishers, had raised more than £2,000, and donations were still coming in.
On his decision to choose the two charities Paul said: “I chose Crisis because having always had a loving home, I think it must be very difficult to have nowhere to call your own. This trip has made me realise what it’s like to be exhausted, cold and wet and not be sure where you can spend the night.
“Supporting families coping with cancer is tremendously important I know from the experience of our friends, the Haywards in Hoole, whose son Michael lived with cancer for nine years, just how vital that support can be.”
If you would like to support Paul’s charities, you can still make a donation and leave him a message by visiting On ya bike Doc.