Mark Wiggins, a project manager from Bicester who shares the surname of a riding legend, is doing his own Tour de France when he rides from London to Paris in May - all for charity.
A group of 5 friends will be riding alongside Mark to honour their friend Stuart Patrick who they lost to GraftvsHost disease earlier this year following a battle against leukemia.
During his remission stages from leukemia, Stuart wanted to cycle with Mark to Paris to raise money for charities close to their hearts: Diabetes UK, Cureleukaemia and Bloodwise. Sadly, it wasn’t to be.
Aiming to raise £10,000 for Diabetes UK
So far the group have raised over £2,000 – and are appealing for local support to help them reach their £10,000 target. They plan to depart on 17 May from Nelson’s Column and arrive at the Eiffel Tower on the 20th.
Mark said: “It’s hard sharing the same name with such a legend! It’s raised a few laughs from friends and family as I never had a bike until recently.
Sir Bradley Wiggins is a personal hero of mine but, somehow I doubt I’ll match him for pace or stamina! There won’t be a yellow jersey waiting for me at the finish line, just making it to Paris and raising money for our charities will be rewarding enough! We are all emotionally invested in this ride, I lost my father to diabetes and my close friend, Stuart, to leukemia.”
Inspired by the Tour de France
“Inspired by the Tour de France, the ride was Stuart’s idea and we want it to be a tribute to his incredible spirit and bravery. He wanted this to be a success so please be generous and help us raise money for these worthwhile causes.”
Mark Wiggins continued: “We’ve already had some amazing support from Stuart’s former workplace – Hankook Tyres, and their investment into our quest has been truly astounding! But, we can’t stop there, Stuart and I would love to see all of these worthy charities receive what they deserve for the tireless work they do.”
The group of novice riders have already started a rigorous training schedule but, will ramp it up in order to complete the grueling 330-mile ride.
Cheering them on will be Stuart’s family. Stuart’s sister, Kaylie Patrick said: “Stuart's loss has been a devastating blow to our family; but the support, passion, and kindness shown by his friends in fighting for his cause is a great comfort to us all. We could not be prouder that they are working together to help achieve one of Stuart's dreams.
Stuart's colleagues at Hankook, have also shown a great level of help and support throughout this process and the company has donated an amazing £1000 towards the fundraising target."
Charlotte Harrison-Webb, Diabetes UK South East regional fundraiser, said: “Mark and the team are amazing. We are so grateful to them for taking this on and raising awareness of diabetes and vital funds for Diabetes UK. It will help us to support the millions of people living with diabetes in the UK so please give generously to support their heroic efforts.”
Help Mark fundraise for Diabetes UK
To help Mark fundraise for Diabetes UK you canmake a donation.
If you are a local business you can sponsor Mark and his friends. They are in desperate need of spare tyres, tyre repair kits and supply vehicles to help them on their journey.