Ex-mayor's 400-mile charity bike ride

PUBLISHED: 10:02 04 August 2008 | UPDATED: 16:26 05 May 2010

A FORMER Stevenage mayor is cycling 400 miles in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity which supported his wife through breast cancer. Cycling enthusiast Simon Speller, 58, set off on the solo five-day challenge around East Anglia this morning (Monda

A FORMER Stevenage mayor is cycling 400 miles in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity which supported his wife through breast cancer.

Cycling enthusiast Simon Speller, 58, set off on the solo five-day challenge around East Anglia this morning (Monday) to raise awareness of the excellent work Macmillan nurses do.

The ride is taking him through Cambridge and the Fens, the north Norfolk coast, The Broads and the Suffolk coast, before returning to Stevenage via the Stour, visiting Macmillan supporters and volunteers on the way.

Cllr Speller said: "My wife Bridy had breast cancer about a year ago. She finished her treatment about five months ago and I know the massive difference the nurses have made to my family and friends and I want to do my bit to support this excellent cause.

"These days people live longer and more people require treatment for cancer and what is really lovely about Macmillan is that they are not only hospital-based but they also support the families of patients."

Cllr Speller is also doing the ride in memory of his councillor colleague Reg Smith who died of cancer last month.

He said: "Reg was a great friend, fellow councillor and mentor who also benefited enormously from the nurses. He was a wonderful person to work with, a wise man with vision and a fighter to the very end.

"Although I was made aware of the work they do two years ago when I was mayor, I had already chosen my charities for the year so I thought I owed Macmillan a bike ride!"

In preparation for the ride Cllr Speller cycled 100 miles a week and jogged around Fairlands Valley Park every day with his King Charles spaniel called Henry.

He aims to cycle 12 miles an hour and be in the saddle for five to six hours a day. However, he has had plenty of practice because in May the Stevenage Town Twinning Association member cycled to Ingelheim in Germany, one of Stevenage's twin towns.

The cyclist who completed his first charity race in 1992 when he cycled to another twin town, Autun in France, said: "I now know the best creams to use!

"But the trick is to do it slowly and not take too many breaks."

Kerry Briars, Hertfordshire's community fundraiser for Macmillan, said: "It is fantastic that members of the public feel so strongly about Macmillan and help in such brilliant ways. This money will really make a difference to posts and services we are currently funding in Hertfordshire."

To sponsor Cllr Speller send cheques to Macmillan Cancer Support to: 12 Prospect Place, Welwyn, Herts, AL6 9EN and mark it 'Simon Speller'.

Cllr Speller aim to hold a barbecue for friends and sponsors at Costello's in Fairlands Valley Park on Friday at 7pm.

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