A million metres in May challenge - East Cheshire Hospice

A million metres in May challenge

Cyclist Darren Smith is involved in a race against time to complete a million metres in May.

At the halfway stage he is well on course to ride 1,000 kilometres in aid of East Cheshire Hospice.

His journey is dedicated to the memory of his father-in-law Brian Barker who died in March, aged 77.

Brian was a long-standing volunteer for the Hospice’s Christmas tree collection scheme, forging a close connection with the Hospice.

Brian Barker who was a volunteer for East Cheshire Hospice.

Darren, from Macclesfield, had intended cycling to Belgium as a fundraising challenge but the trip was cancelled due to Brian’s sudden death.

Darren said: “I wanted to keep my promise to raise funds and would have travelled about 1,000 kilometres by going to Belgium.

“Instead, I decided to ride the same distance – a million metres – throughout May. That means I’m cycling between 30 to 40 kilometres most days, with longer rides at weekends.”

Work commitments have complicated the challenge for Darren, a director of Manuka Money, a Gawsworth-based mortgage broker.

He said: “I set up the brokerage two years ago. Having worked for big corporates, I was acutely aware of how people can get lost in the process so we provide a more personalised concierge service.

“Our company is getting behind my bike ride to let everyone know about the Hospice’s wonderful work. I’m trying to turn a negative into a positive and make it a fitting tribute to Brian and all those who receive care there.”

Darren is visiting as many of the communities served by the Hospice, supported by wife Sammy, son Sebastian (14) and daughter Abigail (10).

An issue is a family holiday in the Lake District in the last week of May. He said: I may be sweating over the hills there if I don’t get enough metres covered by then.

Darren Smith (far right) with (from left) business partner Carl Atkinson, Hospice fundraiser Luke Oldham and Manuka Money’s head of marketing Alison Barber. 

“At 6ft 2in, I’m built more for rugby than cycling. I only got into the sport by going on a friend’s 50th birthday weekend and we ended up cycling in the Alps between Italy and Slovenia. I just enjoy the outdoors”.

“Brian was always amazed by how little revenue the Hospice gets from the government. The charity relies heavily on donations and charity events like mine.”

* To sponsor Darren visit www.justgiving.com/page/manukamoney-eastcheshirehospice

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