A FATHER-of-two is set to get back on his bike to complete a challenge he has not done for 15 years – all in the name of charity.
Andy Willetts, of Beech Close, Uttoxeter, is gearing himself up for the Great Nottingham Bike Ride in a bid to raise cash for Rakemark Respite, a holiday club for children with special needs and disabilities.
The 58-year-old set himself the challenge of cycling in the 50 mile race again before his 60th birthday and decided he wanted to help the charity in the process.
He told the Post and Times: “It has been 15 years since I last did it and now we have this fund-raising at work for Clic Sergeant. I thought if people can do marathons for charity then I do a bike ride and I might as well do it for charity.
“I always thought I would like to do it again before I turn 60.
“I am doing the 50 mile ride, there is a choice of three – the 20 mile, 50 mile and 100 mile. I decided to go for the 50 seeing as I have not ridden a bike for a while.”
Mr Willetts decided he wanted to raise money for Rakemark Respite after attending its charity ball two years ago and was impressed with how the volunteers help the children during the school holidays.
He said: “There is always plenty to do for able-bodied youngsters in the holidays and having run a youth club many years ago a disabled child came along and the parents thought we would turn him away but we welcomed him.
“All kids should have the opportunity to do things and experience new things.
“I would ask people to please support this charity as it does such a wonderful job. I was invited to go and see them and the joy and excitement their help is bringing to youngsters is fantastic.
“They just need the equipment and support to improve the facilities that they are offering the children. The more that people can give the better. They are doing something that not a lot of people would like to do themselves. It is not easy and I admire them for it.”
Mr Willetts, who works for Network Rail, will set off on his epic challenge from the Victoria Embankment from June 22.
He added: “I am practicing but unfortunately I have been busy helping my wife who’s the vicar so it has not been going as well as planned. I have done two 12 mile bike rides now.
“I haven’t really set myself a target but I would like to raise at least £500, I think that will be a good amount for them.
“I am being accompanied by my two sons on the ride to make sure their dad gets around.”
Anyone wanting to sponsor Mr Willetts is asked to visit www.justgiving.com/Andrew-Willetts3 or leave donations in an envelope marked Andrew Willetts Rakemark at St Mary’s the Virgin Church, in Bridge Street.