A BLACKBURN man braved the winter weather to cycle 230 miles from London to Chorley to raise money for his local children’s hospice.
Ryan Walmsley, 21, who is a community ambassador for Derian House Children’s Hospice, took four days to complete the epic journey to raise money for the good cause – which he dubbed the Tour De Derian.
The challenge raised £1,880 for Derian House, a Chorley-based charity which cares for more than 400 children and young people with serious conditions from across the North West, helping them to make the most of every moment.
Ryan, a Production Supervisor at BAE Systems, began his mammoth cycle on Monday, 7 December, starting out from the BBC Broadcasting House in London and arriving back at Derian House Children’s Hospice.
As if that wasn’t physically demanding enough, Ryan completed the journey on a junior boy’s road bike, cycling for up to nine hours a day.
Ryan said: “Derian House has had to cancel all public fundraisers, its charity shops were forced to close for a while, and a whole raft of amazing fundraising events planned by supporters have been postponed. That’s why as a Community Ambassador I wanted to step up to the plate once more to do all that I can to help this amazing cause.
“2020 has been a tough year for everyone and we’ve all placed more of a focus on our own health and wellbeing, but we shouldn’t forget that there are other people out there who need us. I wanted to do something different to help others.”
Ryan is no stranger to athletic fundraising challenges and this adventure marks two years since he completed a 365-day running challenge which raised over £10,000 for Derian House Children’s Hospice.
In 2018, Ryan ran an average of 3 miles every single day for a whole year and was even surprised live on Radio 1 for his amazing dedication to the charity.
Presenter Greg James from the Radio 1 Breakfast Show shared his support for Ryan again live on air this year as he set off on his courageous cycle.
Ryan said: “I’ve always been interested in cycling but picked it up again as a result of lockdown as it is a nice escape from everything going on. I knew getting groups of people together to fundraise would be difficult, so I decided to focus on something I could do independently.”
Unlike the running that was spread over a year, the long distance cycle was a much more intense effort and Ryan endured long days exposed to the gruelling winter weather.
But messages of support from friends and family, and the kind donations from supporters, kept him going. He said: “I hit a wall part way through but my resilience proved stronger than the urge to stop. I didn’t want to let anyone down.”
Ryan’s dad joined him for the last leg of his journey and the rest of his proud family were waiting at the finish line together with the team from Derian and a well-deserved cup of tea.
Mick Croskery, Community Fundraising Manager at Derian House Children’s Hospice said: “Ryan is both an amazing role model for young adults and a fantastic ambassador for Derian House Children’s Hospice. He is always willing to take on a challenge to fundraise for our children and families and this one will not have been easy – cycling from London to Chorley on a push bike which was designed for someone much smaller than yourself will have been both physically and mentally draining.
“To raise such huge amounts of money as well as increasing awareness of Derian House is an amazing achievement, one which I knew he would smash. After speaking with Ryan at the finish line I know he already has plans for his next challenge, for now though time to rest them legs I think!”
As Lancashire is in tier 4 there will be no big celebration at the moment, but Ryan is more than happy to take the time to relax and reflect on his achievement. He also plans to sell the bike he completed the journey on and add the sale to his fundraising total.
People can still sponsor Ryan and support Derian House to continue caring for children and young people whose lives are too short by donating to his JustGiving page http://www.justgiving.com/TourDeDerian