Thursday, 16 September 2021

Cyclist, 76, recalls riding length of the country

A PENSIONER who completed a sponsored cycle ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats in memory of a friend has

A PENSIONER who completed a sponsored cycle ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats in memory of a friend has written a book about the experience.

Phil Ramsell, who completed the 900-mile challenge three years ago, is selling The Bucket List in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

He raised £25,000 for the charity during his sponsored ride, which was in honour of his friend Jim Billingham, who died of cancer.

Dr Ramsell, 76, of Wharfe Lane, Henley, wanted to raise another £15,000 for Macmillan and had planned to walk the same route but was persuaded by his wife Jane not to risk his health. He had suffered a suspected stroke as a result of the cycle ride and was ill for about six months afterwards.

Mrs Ramsell pledged £5,000 if he completed a more sedate challenge and her brother, Jurek Piasecki, said he would match it.

Dr Ramsell, an engineer, said writing the book wasn’t easy. “It took ages because I kept changing it,” he said. “I found it tricky because I didn’t have a set plan — it was all a bit hotchpotch.”

The 71-page book tells the story of his friendship with Jim, whom he first met when he joined Walsall Roads Cycling Club in 1954. Mr Billingham had always wanted to do the ride himself and Dr Ramsell promised to do it in his honour and in aid of his chosen charity.

He hopes that people purchasing the book will pay £27, the cost of a Macmillan nurse for an hour. “Everybody praises Macmillan because it is a very good charity,” said Dr Ramsell. “I know all charities are good but Macmillan is particularly so because it was chosen by my friend Jim.”

For a copy of The Bucket List, send a cheque made out to “Macmillan Cancer Support” to: Phil Ramsell, Wharfe House, Wharfe Lane, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 2LL. To make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/jimsbucketlist

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