Firefighter to solo cycle 960 miles in eight days for charity

Luke MatthewsA firefighter from Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) is attempting to cycle 960 miles in eight days in aid of charity.

The journey, which will go from John o’ Groats to Land’s End, will see Luke Matthews cycle for 12 hours a day for the mammoth journey.

The aim is to raise £2,500 pounds for The Fire Fighters Charity and Samaritans after Luke lost a close friend to mental health illness over the period of lockdown.

The journey is extra special as RAF Corporal Jon Ward passed away just days before he was due to complete a 100 mile run race in aid of the Samaritans.

Luke, who serves at Southmead fire station, is not only aiming to raise the money for both charities but also raise awareness of mental health and the impacts it can have.

To add to the difficulty of the challenge, Luke will be cycling solo (with support vehicle), camp along the way and train for the journey in just six weeks.

He will set off on from John o’ Groats on 28th August and arrive in Land’s End on 4th Sept.

Luke said: “Lockdown has been a tough period for everyone – but even more tough for those who are isolated. When I heard that Jon had passed away, I was devastated.

“He was a superb ambassador for fitness, fundraising and our Armed Forces so what better way to honour him than cycling the length of the country.”

“This is going to be a really hard challenge but I know he would have done the same. In fact, he would have run it. It is merely a drop in the ocean compared to his fundraising efforts. However, If the funds or awareness I raise make a difference to just one person, then it’s worth it.”

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For those wishing to join Luke along the way, his route is as follows:

  • Day 1 - John O’Groats to Inverness (28/08)
  • Day 2 – Inverness to Perth (29/08)
  • Day 3 – Perth to Lockerbie (30/08)
  • Day 4 – Lockerbie to Lancaster (31/08)
  • Day 5 – Lancaster to Stafford (01/09)
  • Day 6 – Stafford to Bristol (02/09)
  • Day 7 – Bristol to Hookway (03/09) – Starting from Southmead Station 07:30 with fire truck procession 
  • Day 8 – Hookway to Land’s End (04/09)