Swindon grandfather, 80, cycles 900 miles in aid of Make a Wish Foundation (From Swindon Advertiser)
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Swindon grandfather, 80, cycles 900 miles in aid of Make a Wish Foundation
Buy this photo » Grandfather Denis Hedges, 80, has just completed a cycle ride from Lands End to John O’Groats
AN 80-year-old grandfather who cycled more than 900 miles for charity has been hailed a ‘true hero’ by his family and the organisation he was supporting.
Denis Hedges spent 12 days pedalling an average of around 80 miles a day on his mission to raise money and awareness for the Make a Wish Foundation.
The charity came to Denis’ attention after the foundation whisked his ill grandson Tom Hyde to Florida to swim with dolphins while he was recovering from a rare form of cancer called Hodgkin lymphoma.
Denis left Land’s End on Saturday, September 7, and then rode into John O’Groats last Wednesday, experiencing some of the hardest cycle treks in his life.
Tom said he was really proud of everything his grandfather had achieved.
“I have to say well done Grampy,” said the 13-year-old.
“What a fantastic achievement, I’m really proud of him. It’s amazing. I can’t believe he’s done it at the age of 80. He is super fit and mad about cycling. It’s great to think that the money he had raised will help to give poorly children, like me, a chance to have their wishes granted.”
When Denis first began his marathon ride he expected to collect around £1,000 but he has smashed that target, raising more than £3,000.
“Denis is a true hero; to have cycled the 900 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats is such an incredible achievement and one he should be very proud of.” said Andy Holland, events and challenges manager of the Make a Wish Foundation.
“The money raised from his efforts will help us to continue granting wishes to poorly children, like his grandson Tom, who deserve a special experience. Thanks go to Denis for undertaking this great challenge with such enthusiasm.”
On his return home last Friday his family prepared a little celebration to mark his achievement, with a few bottle of bubbly and a cake.
“It was a relief to get home and see my wife,” said Denis.
“It’s absolutely fantastic how generous people have been. We met a lot of people along the route who wanted to donate. It’s still coming in.”
He said since returning home he has found it difficult to sleep due to all the adrenaline from the trek.
The veteran cyclist plans to get back on his saddle next Sunday to take part in a time trials race.
“I couldn’t have done it without my driver Ken Smith. He had more stress than me I think. He had to work out the route and find me,” added Denis.
“I didn’t have any trouble at all with motorists along the route either.”
Anyone who would like to sponsor Denis should visit www.justgiving.com/ denishedges.
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