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Charlie’s story: Lapping the Lough

Charlie Hendron, from Lisburn County Down, is set to take on a mammoth challenge this month in support of us. On 17 June, Charlie will be getting into gear and cycling a 100-mile lap around Lough Neagh, the largest lake in the UK. Charlie recently caught up with us to tell us more about the challenge:

What better feeling to know that you’ve pushed yourself outside of your comfort zone to support others – purely because you can!


Where it all began

In just a couple of weeks’ time, I’ll be tackling the 100-mile cycle around Lough Neagh – while it is such a significant challenge, it’s not my first lap and certainly won’t be my last! This concept all started quite some time ago as a way for me to support my wife’s line dancing class, Brookmount Dance Ranch, in their endeavour to raise funds for local charities. This is my first time back at the challenge since Covid, and it is made all the more special by the fact that it also happens to be my 60th birthday!

Diabetes UK and me

Supporting a great cause 

My wife and I like to support a new charity each year through her line dance class, and this year, Diabetes UK seemed like a great fit. Within each year we try to raise money through our social nights, table quizzes, line dance demonstrations etc. Previously, my wife even took on a skydive for Air Ambulance, despite having such a fear of heights!

Charlie and Paul pictured with a tandem bicycle

Whilst I don’t have diabetes myself, I know it can be such a debilitating illness and I’ve learnt a lot from my friends who have the condition themselves. This year I’m really driven to do this in support of them and all in our local area who have experience of the condition.

Pushing yourself

I’m not a cyclist as such, so that is why this is such a significant challenge for me. In advance, I train by doing a hilly 20 or 40-mile cycle when I get time, however, I also pilot tandems most Saturdays for partially sighted and blind people through a charity called Lisburn Outlook. That has been a great way to help me train.

The Lough can be completed in a few less miles but there’s just something about completing 100 miles that is quite a milestone. Each year, I tend to add in an extra route to take it over the 100-mile mark, usually around 103 miles by the time I am home. I must say, I’m usually digging deep for the last 20-30 miles and it’s then that sponsorship and community support that really see me through to the end!

If anyone is thinking about taking on a fundraising challenge, then I would wholeheartedly encourage you to go for it! Yes, it can be difficult and time-consuming, but what better feeling to know that you’ve pushed yourself outside of your comfort zone to support others – purely because you can!

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