938-mile cycle challenge raises more than £50,000 for Stevenage families

Simon Galbraith after completing his 938 cycle. Picture: Simon Galbraith

Simon Galbraith after completing his 938 cycle. Picture: Simon Galbraith - Credit: Archant

A co-founder of a software company has cycled from one corner of the UK to the other, raising more than £50,000 to help 21 Stevenage families in need.

Simon Galbraith undertook a gruelling 938-mile ride from Land's End in Cornwall to Scotland's John O'Groats in just seven days - finishing on Saturday.

As part of this challenge, Simon decided to donate proceeds from this charity cycle to Home-Start Herts, which supports families with young children who are struggling.

Simon became aware of this charity through the work of Stevenage Community Trust, a grant-giving charity which helps causes in the town and surrounding villages.

There are currently 21 families in Stevenage awaiting help from Home-Start Herts, and Simon's intended target of £45,000 would allow the charity to clear that waiting list.

Simon, alongside SCT's president and acclaimed author Ken Follett, has been matching every £1 donated to the cause - and the pair are delighted to annonunce they have exceeded the £55,000 mark. This total smashes all previous records set by SCT, which the trust are also understandably overjoyed with.

Despite only starting serious cycling six months earlier, Simon and his five co-riders set off last Saturday. Both the weather and terrain were challenging at times as the group cycled more than 100 miles each day.

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The team were in the saddle for close to nine hours each day, but briefly stopped en route for cups of tea, passing cathedrals and some of the UK's most beautiful towns and cities.

But Simon's saving grace was often found in his pockets, which were filled to the brim with the essentials - pork pies, jelly babies and bananas.

After just the first day, Simon says he knew this would be a "punishing challenge". Just getting back on his bike for day two took a huge effort, let alone day seven.

Five days of wobbly legs, sweat and tears followed, as the group started to struggle with this remarkable feat of endurance. Six became five after Marco, one of the experienced riders, was forced to pull out on day seven.

But with less than 100 miles to go, the group faced their toughest challenge as one of them was hit by a passing motorhome off the coast of Inverness. After his co-rider was airlifted to hospital, Simon said: "I thought I'd seen a dear friend killed."

Having stopping in the nearest town to check on their friend's health, Simon and the rest decided to finish their ride.

After pulling into John O'Groats, Simon said: "The thought that we did some good makes it all worth it."

To donate visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/cyclingforstevenage.