Stevenage friends cycle 800 miles to raise £10,000 for research into incurable disease

Two friends have cycled more than 800 miles round Ireland and raised more than £10,000 to help find a cure for a disease affecting two girls close to their hearts.

Gary Pemberton and Rob King, from Stevenage, set off on their epic journey on May 4 and cycled from Dublin anti-clockwise around Ireland, finishing back in the capital on Friday.

The pair took on the challenge to raise money towards research into a cure for cystinosis - a rare metabolic disease characterised by an accumulation of the amino acid cystine in organs and tissues, leading to severe organ dysfunction.

Gary said: "My two young Irish nieces both suffer from this disease. Raising money will help them, and others like them, live better and longer lives."

The money raised will be donated to the charity Cystinosis Ireland.

Gary said: "We left Dublin, headed to Belfast and then continued anti-clockwise, mainly along the coast through beautiful places such as Donegal, Galway, The Ring of Kerry, Cork, Wexford and then back to Dublin.

"Neither of us are regular cyclists and we have done this challenge with very little training, no support car, and we carried all our own kit and supplies.

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"Along the way we have been amazed by the kindness of strangers from people who have provided a bed, a meal, washed clothes, a taxi ride, a drink, donations and general support - all for free!

"We have cycled paths, roads, bridges, along islands, travelled on ferries, and we have seen so many beautiful places - Ireland is amazing!

"This is such an important cause for us as the disease is so rare, currently incurable, and because my nieces have cystinosis.

"We really wanted to raise awareness, as well as funds.

"We're so touched that people have supported two normal blokes, who have never cycled for more than two days before, to raise this money."

You can still make a donation to Gary and Rob's cause at

Gary said: "If you would like to donate, any amount at all, we would be extremely grateful."

For more information about Cystinosis Ireland, visit