IT would be difficult to find a longer route in the UK than the one Bob Jones has chosen for his sponsored bike ride.
Bob, 65, from West Saxham, plans to cycle round Britain’s coastline, which, at 6,000 miles is roughly 10 times the distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats. His fund-raising target is a modest £1 a mile to be split equally between the Stroke Association and the Meningitis Research Foundation.
Now retired, Bob spent his working life in ports and harbours, including 21 years at the Port of Ipswich. He admitted: “Ports and harbour are my thing and on the route I’ll be visiting 600 to improve my knowledge of the country’s harbours. It’s going to be a wonderful three month trip.”
The charities to benefit have been chosen for very personal reasons.
Bob’s partner of 19 years, Bundy Mackintosh, 60, suffered a severe stroke in February 2009, affecting her speech and writing abilities.
Though fit and healthy, the stroke hit as she prepared for a psychology lecture she was scheduled to give the following day. The Stroke Association says: “A stroke is a brain attack, it is indiscriminate, and can happen to anyone at any time, often resulting in life-changing consequences.”
Bob said: “The Stroke Association funds research into prevention, treatment and better methods of rehabilitation, and helps stroke survivors and their families directly through its Life After Stroke Services.”
Meningitis is thought of as a young person’s disease, but it struck Bob in 1996. It started with flu-like aches and ended with Bob in hospital for two weeks with his joints locked up. “I was told I was lucky to survive,” he said.
Bob’s trip starts in Ipswich on April 30. To sponsor him, either visit his website at www.coastrider.org.uk and follow the links or go direct to www.justgiving.com/coastrider1 for strokes or /coastrider2 for meningitis.