Cyclists to ride 1,000 miles for new disability-friendly facility

A group of eight men hope to cycle 1,000 miles from France to Spain to raise £30,000 for Worthing Scope to build a new community facility especially-tailored for those with disabilities.

Wednesday, 31st August 2016, 9:31 am
Updated Wednesday, 31st August 2016, 10:36 am
Team Quest Adventure Riding for Disability. The Team. Picture: Derek Martin

The group will be riding from St Malo to Santander via the Pyrenees over ten days, from September 1.

The charity cycle is the brainchild of Simon Partner, 53, from Worthing. His daughter Georgina, 22, has a chromosome deficiency which means she needs one-on-one care and support, and she attends Worthing Scope.

He said: “They are head-and-shoulders, above and beyond. Most places have open and closing times and holidays, but here they accomodate when everywhere else is closed.

“It helps us on a day-to-day basis; we couldn’t survive without it. From my point of view and my daughter’s point of view, it’s the least you can do.

“I’m fortunate to be surrounded by such good guys cycling; we are all a team together. They’ll probably be towing me around!”

The money raised will go towards building a new facility tailored to the needs of disabled people which can be used by the whole community to host clubs and events.

Matt Sutton, 42, from Worthing, highlighted how tough the challenge will be: “Cyclists doing the Tour de France have a rest day after eight days, but we’re doing ten days without a break.”

And if averaging 100 miles a day on a bike wasn’t enough, the team will have to battle up steep inclines as they make their way through the elevated terrain. In fact, on one day alone the team expects to ascend 12,000ft.

But they are dedicated to the cause – so much so that they are self-funding their expenses so that 100 per cent of money raised goes toward the project.

Jo McCaffrey, community liaison worker for Worthing Scope, said that the plans for the building, scheduled to be started in 2017, have been in the pipeline for a while – and the timing of the cycle ride was good luck.

“One of the issues that comes up again and again is the accessibility of buildings. We’ve discovered that there are lots of local groups that run for families with disabled children and they are having to hire halls which don’t have the facilities, and by default these children are excluded.”

With only a few hours to go until the challenge begins, Simon remains optimistic: “It isn’t easy to achieve but we are all very hard and we’ll pull through.”

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