Friday, 17 September 2021

Company director tackles charity bike challenge for Sue Ryder

A COMPANY director raised £3,500 for the Sue Ryder hospice at Nettlebed by cycling from London

A COMPANY director raised £3,500 for the Sue Ryder hospice at Nettlebed by cycling from London to Paris in four days.

Julian Glasspole, 51, of Mill Lane, Shiplake, took part in the 350-mile challenge with four colleagues from Vehicle Weighing Solutions in Caversham.

They were part of a 17-strong group who work for various waste and recycling firms around the country.

The cyclists assembled outside the Guildhall in London and were greeted by the City‘s Lord Mayor Alan Yarrow and blessed by Rev Canon David Parrott, vicar of the St Lawrence Jewry Church.

The team cycled to Tower Bridge then made their way out of London towards Dover using minor roads and country lanes. They were accompanied by five support vehicles carrying food and water.

The riders stayed in Dover overnight then caught a ferry to Dunkirk before cycling 80 miles to Valenciennes, near the Belgian border.

The next day they cycled 100 miles to Soissons and the day after that they completed the final 70 miles to the Eiffel Tower.

Mr Glasspole, then caught the Eurostar home to his wife Jennifer Benavidez-Glasspole, a salsa dance teacher.

He was taking part in memory of his friend Philip Fleming, of Gravel Hill, Henley, who died of oesophageal cancer earlier this year. Sue Ryder looked after Mr Fleming in his final days. Mr Glasspole said: “Phil was a great friend and I wanted to do something for him as I had to miss his funeral due to work commitments.

“Sue Ryder cared for him fantastically so it seemed right to give something back to them.

“The response from friends and family was overwhelming. I‘d have been happy to raise £1,000 but the money just kept coming in.“

Mr Glasspole used to row for Upper Thames Rowing Club more than 15 years ago and admitted he was not in good shape.

He said: “I‘m not the slimmest of fellows and didn‘t have enough time to train to the level I‘d have liked. It‘s a long way to go and it was hard work but I knew it was nothing compared to the difficulties Phil faced. I just told myself to stop being a wimp and to get on with it. We were very lucky with the weather. It was warm throughout with a cool breeze and we only had 30 seconds‘ rain the entire time.

“Going through Paris was pretty terrifying. We were warmly greeted everywhere we went in the countryside but it was every man for himself once we got to the city.

“It was very moving to reach the Eiffel Tower as I‘d been very nervous before setting off. I genuinely wasn‘t sure whether I‘d be up to finishing.“

Mrs Benavidez-Glasspole said: “My husband is crazy but once he gets his mind on something there‘s no stopping him. I am immensely proud of him.“

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