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Supporting vulnerable children through cycling

Our office had the pleasure of meeting Peter, who fundraised over £1,000 during his cycle for vulnerable children.
Our office had the pleasure of meeting Peter, who fundraised over £1,000 during his cycle for vulnerable children.

On 1 June, 2016, Peter Ganczakowski set off on a 26-year-old bicycle from Land’s End in Cornwall, to cycle the length of Great Britain in support of SOS Children’s Villages UK. Peter journeyed to John O’Groats, Scotland, and fundraised £1,040 – approximately £1 for every mile cycled. Below, he shares his experience cycling to support vulnerable children.

I’d often thought about completing the Land's End to John O’Groats cycle challenge, but while working, never really felt I had the time. My recent retirement changed that and allowed me to put my new found freedom to good use. Raising money for charity along the way gave the idea an added purpose. 

Like many others I enjoy cycling but wouldn’t describe myself as a fanatic or even a regular cyclist. As such, I wasn’t sure how long the challenge would take me but felt that given the distance of approximately 1,000 miles, I should allow at least three weeks with adequate time for training and preparation. 

Peter Granczakowski - cycling fundraiser
Peter cycled from Land's End to John O’Groats, and fundraised £1,040 – approximately £1 for every mile cycled – for SOS Children's Villages UK

The first time ever recorded for the route was 65 days, 16 hours and 7 minutes ridden on a Penny-farthing bicycle in 1880. Today the record is held by Gethin Butler. In September 2001 he covered the distance in an astonishing 1 day, 20 hours, 4 minutes and 20 seconds. Needless to say, I wasn’t planning on beating that record! I aimed to complete approximately 50 miles per day, knowing that certain parts of the route would be much more physically demanding than others. My most strenuous days were in Cornwall and Devon where I completed 132 miles in two days in some of the hilliest terrains.

The opportunity to complete the end-to-end route while raising money for charity was a significant incentive for me. My chosen charity, SOS Children's Villages, is committed to helping orphaned or abandoned children throughout the world. Moreover, they have an office here in Cambridge, so I felt I could provide both local and international support in raising money directly for them. 

Throughout the weather was mixed, but on 25th June, after a journey of 22 days and 1,074 miles from a very misty and drizzly start, the sun came out as I arrived at John O'Groats with a wonderful sunny view to the Orkney Isles and beyond. What a great way to finish!

I have met lots of interesting people and enjoyed some wonderful sights along the way. My thanks go to all those who lent me their fantastic support; both financial and otherwise. I couldn't have done it without you! Special thanks also to my long-suffering wife, who spent many hours at home on the phone and on the internet arranging my next B&B stop-over. She did an excellent job in making sure I had a bed for the night and got home safely without a hitch.

Finally, I’m pleased to say that so far I have raised over £1,000 for SOS Children’s Villages. 

You can make a contribution to Peter’s cycling challenge on his JustGiving page.

Feeling inspired? Why not fundraise for SOS Children’s Villages UK and make a difference to the lives of vulnerable children?