Disabled cyclist in 10,000-mile charity challenge
[Aug. 27, 2020: Allan Preston]
A grandad is cycling 10,000 miles to mark his 75th birthday and raise money for charity.
The herculean task is all the more impressive because Paul Burrows, from Portadown, is disabled and finds walking difficult.
This year he has already clocked up nearly 9,000 miles, raising over £1,000 for Cancer Focus NI along the way.
Paul, who celebrated his 75th birthday on July 31, aims to complete the challenge by October.
His wife Carol is a cancer survivor and both are members of the Cancer Focus NI Sing for Life choir, with rehearsals recently starting up again via Zoom.
"Almost everyone I know has been affected by cancer," he said.
"As Carol and I are members of the choir, and at a time when charities are really struggling, it seemed a good time to try and raise funds for Cancer Focus NI.
"I started the challenge at the beginning of the year and cycle a minimum of 45 miles every day.
"I set off about seven in the morning and keep going for about five hours.
"I've probably done about 8,000 miles before in a year but I've never reached 10,000."
Paul, who caught the fitness bug in his 30s, has completed many running challenges for local charities.
He also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro when he was 60 to raise money for Cancer Research.
"I thought I would use this big birthday to try and do something more," the cyclist said.
"In my 60s I had a bit of back trouble, but when I retired my back just seemed to collapse. I'm sure that all the running and climbing didn't help.
"Now I struggle to walk any distance and I need a stick, so it's so much easier for me to cycle (instead of walking)."
With the pandemic transforming normal life, Paul has been using cycling to keep busy.
"I love the spring. During April and May it was wonderful with no traffic on the roads and the sun shining and the birds singing," he said.
"The saddle is always sore, though. No matter how much you try, you cannot get away from that."
Kathryn Holland, outdoor events manager at Cancer Focus NI, thanked Paul for all his hard work.
"We are so impressed by Paul's achievement - he is an example to us all," she said.
"We can't thank him and his supporters enough for their generosity."
Mrs Holland also warned that lockdown had caused fundraising to plummet to a "critically low level", threatening the future of the charity.
"We fear we might not survive to continue to support thousands of people at one of the toughest times of their lives," she said.
"For each day of lockdown, another 36 local people get cancer - and cancer figures are rising year-on-year."
This Brighter Side of News post courtesy of The Belfast Telegraph at www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk.
Like these kind of stories? Get The Brighter Side of News' newsletter.
Want to Learn More?
Donations to Paul's cycle fundraiser can be made through Cancer Focus NI's JustGiving page.