Ian’s round the cathedrals tour raises money for Walsham church

Ian Toulson arrives at St Edmundsbury cathedral at the end of his epic bike ride to 38 cathedrals 
Picture Mark Westley
Ian Toulson arrives at St Edmundsbury cathedral at the end of his epic bike ride to 38 cathedrals Picture Mark Westley
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Ian Toulson had just cycled 2,600 miles round Britain’s cathedrals but he refused to take it easy on the 15 miles home from the final one.

When he arrived at St Edmundsbury Cathedral on Tuesday, Ian’s wife offered to take his cycle panniers home to Walsham-le -Willows by car but he refused.

“I started with a full load so I was going to finish with a full load,” he said.

Ian had decided to mark his 70th birthday with the round Britain ride to raise money for the village church’s organ restoration and fabric funds.

The 46-day ride took him as far north as Elgin – Ian argues, ‘It’s a ruin but it’s stilll a cathedral’ – west to St David’s in Pembrokeshire, south to Exeter and east to Canterbury.

“I visited 38 cathedrals, which was more than I set out to do,” Ian said. “In some cities I visited both the Anglican and Catholic cathedrals.”

So in London he saw St Paul’s, Southwark and the Catholic Westminster Cathedral, but he finds it difficult to pick a favourite among all the magnificence he saw.

Sadly, on day 45 in Kent a white van driver deliberately swerved at him and drove off laughing, but Ian says most people he met were friendly and supportive.

“I had considerable respect from everybody,” he said. “People were terribly kind, helping me on my way and a number put their hands in their pockets – a couple gave me £20 notes.”