An Eastbourne man is setting himself a mammoth cycling challenge to raise money for local children’s hospice, Chestnut Tree House.
Tom Burns has never been an avid cyclist but made the decision to peddle around the entire coastline of Great Britain to raise funds for the charity.
The 11,000 mile journey is expected to take six months for Tom, who will be travelling alone, carrying all his own supplies and battling whatever weather Mother Nature throws at him along the way.
Five months ago, Tom started a gruelling training schedule with postgraduate students at the University of Brighton. In that time, he has managed to increase his lung capacity by 18 per cent and gain two kilos of muscle, making his as ready as he’ll ever be for the trek ahead.
Tom said, “There have been a lot of bumps and bruises along the way but I already feel happier and healthier in myself.
“I was keen to raise money for a local charity and wanted the funds to be used for something tangible. By paying for a day’s care, anyone who supports me can know that they have made a real difference to a family’s life in Sussex. I am expecting the ride to be full of fun and adventure but also to be an eye-opener for me. I expect there will some tears along the way but I am raring to go.”
Tom suffered from a mental illness for a number of years and made the decision to get out there and do something active to take his mind away from problems in the past and challenge himself while benefitting others. He hopes to raise £6,850 for Chestnut Tree House, which is enough to pay for all the care services, both at the hospice and out in the community, for a single day.
Friends and family turned out to support Tom at his leaving party hosted by Black Bikes in Eastbourne on Saturday, June 7 but that didn’t banish the nerves as he set off on his first leg of the journey - a 50-mile trip to Hythe.
You can follow Tom’s progress on his Facebook page by searching ‘Sea Saw: Tom’s Ride Around Coastal Britain 2014’.