Pair’s epic cycle challenge for charities close to their hearts

Dave and Sue Mercer
Dave and Sue Mercer

A Bexhill couple will attempt a gruelling 12-day charity bike trip from Land’s End to John O’ Groats in aid of three charities close to their hearts.

Cycling an average of 70 to 80 miles per day, Dave Mercer, 59, and his wife Sue, 55, will cover around 980 miles through England, Wales and Scotland.

The Ashdown Road residents have been in training for months, clocking up an impressive 3,700 miles of cycling to prepare them for their trip. This included tackling the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100-mile cycle event on July 30.

Sue and Dave are not pro-cyclists, nor elite athletes. They bill themselves as ‘your average middle-aged couple’ who are looking to ‘complete this epic ride and raise as much money as possible’.

They have already covered their basic entry fees and costs of the cycle, so all monies raised will be divided between three charities: Arthritis Research UK, Dementia UK and The Sick Children’s Trust.

Arthritis Research UK funds research into the treatment and prevention of arthritis, as well as providing support to sufferers.

More than 1 in 6 people in the UK have the disease, including Dave, who last year had a total hip replacement for his arthritic right hip.

They will also be donating money to Dementia UK in recognition of the help it has given to Sue’s mother, who has vascular dementia.

Finally, they will be giving money to The Sick Children’s Trust. A smaller charity, it provides help for the families of hospitalised children, providing them with ‘home from home’ accommodation at or near the hospital.

Sue and Dave’s youngest grandchild was born in March with a congenital heart defect that required treatment in Newcastle. The charity helped the family secure accommodation on the hospital grounds free of charge. The youngster will be having further surgery later this year.

Dave and Sue have previously been involved with a school-building project in Uganda and in 2011, Sue raised more than £900 with her son Christopher by taking part in the London Marathon for St John’s Ambulance.

Sue and Dave will set off on their cycle challenge on Tuesday, August 29. They will be part of a group of around 30 riders, cycling between 70 and 80 miles a day and climbing approximately 11,500 metres throughout the journey.

Donations can be made at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SomeoneSpecial/Sue.Dave-LEJOG.