Worksop duo cycle to Paris in just seven days for charity

Graham, David and John are pictured after arriving at La Belle France.
Graham, David and John are pictured after arriving at La Belle France.

A cancer survivor has raised hundreds for charity by cycling nearly 500 miles from Worksop to Paris over seven days.

Graham Bates from Worksop, tackled the “Soixante Neuf” Challenge with friend David Battrum in aid of Prostate Cancer UK.

The route took the intrepid duo to Newhaven via Peterborough and Barking and then to Paris via Dieppe, starting on July 8.

Graham rode on a 1970’s Holdsworth and Dave comandeered one of the last bikes to come off the Carlton Cycles production line at Worksop in the early 1980s.

Day seven saw them arrive at the Eiffel Tower where they were greeted by friend John Simon and enjoyed “an inordinately expensive café au lait”.

Graham said: “We were quite lucky as we unknowingly arrived on Bastille Day, a big holiday in France. There was no traffic as the city has been pedestrianised for the event.

“As we arrived, celebratory planes flew overhead.

“I turned to David and said, ‘How did they know we were coming?’”.

Graham added that the highlight of the challenge was cycling through Normandy and “spectacular countryside villages”.

“It was a great trip, we all thoroughly enjoyed it- as did our wives who had a week without us getting under their feet,” said Graham.

A pie and pea supper, quiz and raffle held at the Station Hotel on Carlton Road in support of the event also raised £500.

A former biology teacher at Valley School, Graham was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012.

He has now bounced back from the illness and dedicates a lot of his spare time to fundraising and “giving something back”- not just to Prostate Cancer UK but other charities too.

In 2014, the 69-year-old took on the “Clickety Click” Challenge, cycling a grand total of 881 miles- the equivalent distance from John O’Groats To Land’s End.

The feat took 10 days and raised nearly £1,300 for Prostate Cancer UK, Children of Fiji and the Aurora Centre, based in Worksop.

Graham thanked Dan Cluderey of Approved Foods for providing £50 worth of energy drinks for the trip, as well as staff at the Station Hotel for providing food at their fundraiser free of charge.

He added: “We wouild also like to thank Ray of RGH cycles in Wales for fettling Graham’s bike at the last minute, aour donors for their generosity and encouragement and lastly but definitely not least our families for their support.”

A Virgin Giving page has raised nearly £900.

You can still donate by visiting http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/soixanteneuf.