Pedal power propelled a big-hearted fundraiser 940 miles in just 12 days in aid of a Warwick-based children’s charity.
Ian Smith, from Cheswick Green, has exceeded his original target after completing the Lands End to John O’Groats route, clocking up more than £2,000 for Molly Olly's Wishes with the support of sponsors and his company Mercer’s in Birmingham which matched the funds.
While having previously taken part in cycling events for the charity, this marks the biggest challenge for the 52-year-old who trained – virtually - for four months before setting off on June 28.
He said: “It all went pretty smoothly actually. I just had to put up with saddle sores.
"I was well prepared because I had spoken to Great Bear Cycle Tours beforehand who were really helpful and provided training, advice and kit.”
Molly Olly’s Wishes was established in 2011 following the death of Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw’s eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer.
The charity, which this year marks its 10th anniversary, works to support children with terminal or life-limiting illnesses and their families and help with their emotional well-being as well as grant around 350 wishes a year and donate therapeutic toys and books to both children directly and to hospitals throughout the UK.
The charity also works alongside the NHS to support projects within the hospitals and the community, including funding the first Molly Olly consultant in paediatric palliative medicine and furnishing Magnolia House, both at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Ian said: “I have known Tim and Rachel for more than 30 years through Olton and West Warwickshire Hockey Club. Following the loss of Molly to cancer they’ve done a brilliant job, working tirelessly to set up and run Molly Olly’s Wishes to help support children with life-threatening illnesses, in a number of ways.”
He added: “I usually play hockey over the winter and cycle to keep fit during the summer but with the hockey season cancelled due to Covid I started cycling earlier in the year than usual as part of my training.
“My motivation to keep going was thinking about why I was doing the challenge and how much it will ultimately help others – as well as the sense of achievement.”
Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “Ian made an incredibly tough challenge look easy and hardly looked like he broke a sweat. He did brilliantly and all the team at Molly Olly’s are very grateful for his support and to his company, Mercer’s for their match funding and everyone who donated.
"It has been a tough year fundraising and it all helps us to continue our work.”
For more information about Molly Olly’s Wishes or how to donate can be found at: www.mollyolly.co.ukDonations can be still be made via: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ian-smith211