I have foolishly agreed to cycle from Land’s End to John o' Groats in September 2021. It’s nearly a thousand miles in distance in just nine days - around 110 miles (175km) a day - and the elevation is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest twice. I am doing this to raise money for The Richmond Heavies Foundation Defibrillator Fund.

I am incredibly proud of the work The Foundation has done to date and the Defibrillator Fund is our initiative to make a difference in the wider rugby community. We have personal experience of our Fund's motto ‘defibs save lives’ as the life of a young visiting player was saved at Richmond a few years ago through the availability of a defibrillator and someone trained in its use. The Fund's mission is simple: we want all rugby clubs to offer the safest environment possible for players, volunteers and supporters and the availability of a functioning defibrillator plays an important role in this.

To date, we have supplied defibs to 15 community rugby clubs from 13 different counties across England. The sheer volume of applications we received demonstrates the enormity of the demand for these life-saving devices and, post-Covid, the difficulties faced by rugby clubs in raising the money to pay for them.

Overall, we are looking to raise £40,000 which will allow us to satisfy around 30 more rugby clubs around the country with a defib and we plan to deliver some of them along the route. And, of course, the more we raise, the more defibs we can supply. There are plenty more applicants.

Personally, my fund raising target of £5,000 will be sufficient to pay for four defibrillators. To raise this money, I would like to sell off each of the 980 miles of this gruelling journey at £5 a mile.

Please support me by buying a piece of my journey. It may be where you are from, a favourite area, or just somewhere with a steep hill! If you let me know in your comments, I will be thinking of you at that time.


PS If you are interested in the route, it can be found here: https://www.rideacrossbritain.com/route/classic-9-day/ Neil Darke