Chichester mayor hails 'superb' charity cyclists after 731-mile challenge
Chichester-born Justin Bulpett and his friend Malcolm Meaby have completed anÂ 'arduous' 731-mile charity cycle challengeÂ from John O'Groats '” an achievement the mayor has since called 'superb'.
The ten-day sponsored bike ride, which ended today in Chichester, has so far raised Â£8,000 for mayor Martyn Bell's chosen charities, Stonepillow and the Oxmarket Centre of Arts.
Following the successful completion of the challenge, Justin, who lives now lives in Bognor, told the Observer: "It was an amazing experience.
"We were confident that we could complete it by taking it day by day, but there was some really tough battles to deal with."
Justin said that many of these battles came against 'cold' weather conditions which gave them no choice but to take shelter in garages, whilst they also faced problems navigating traffic systems in Stoke on Trent, Birmingham and Coventry.
Justin and Malcolm, who departed from John O’Groats in Scotland on Tuesday August 21, have been keeping a daily blog of their challenge.
Writing on the night before day one, Justin comically blamed his mother, Cllr Clare Apel for his involvement.
He wrote: "First of all, this was not my idea!
"My mother is on the Mayor of Chichester’s charity committee.
"A few months ago, she mentioned that Martyn Bell, was looking for someone to cycle from John O’ Groats to Chichester.
"I remember replying with a dismissive 'good luck with that' but the idea took hold and here we are, almost as far north on mainland Britain as anyone can get."
The pair arrived back in Chichester this afternoon (Friday), where they were met in West Street by the town crier and the city council bailiff.
Along with a Scottish piper, MP Gillian Keegan and many local cyclists who were invited by the mayor to join the ‘gala finish’ final stage from West Dean along Centurion Way to the Cross, they then walked to the Assembly Rooms to met by the mayor.
Martyn, who watched the 'gruelling' challenge from his support vehicle said: "It is superb achievement.
"I witnessed the whole ten days and saw how gruelling it was. It is such a long way, in what was some terrible weather conditions.
"You really see how large Scotland and England are.
"It is absolutely fantastic and it was a privilege to support them. I am so proud of them, I really am."
Both rider Justin and the mayor said they were overwhelmed by the 'beautiful' views in Scotland, with the Palace of Scone in Perth a standout location from the trip.
This 'Stone of Destiny' is said to be the original ‘Stonepillow’ on which the homelessness charity’s name is based.
Martyn added: "Perth is a wonderful place.
"We were given a VIP welcoming and Lady Mansfield gave the lads special permission to ride up to the Palace of Scone to pay tribute to Stonepillow.
"We were treated so well and given such a warm welcome.
"It was fabulous and actually an emotional experience."