West Sussex charity cyclist returns home after epic 50-day challenge around the UK in sister's memory
A West Sussex man has arrived back home following an epic 50-day solo cycling challenge around the UK in memory of his sister, who lost her life to multiple sclerosis.
Aldingbourne dad Kenny Smith, who started the challenge in the centre of Chichester on Wednesday, June 12, received a hero's welcome upon his return back into the city yesterday afternoon (Wednesday), in time for what would have been his sister’s 50th birthday. Read more here
Posting on his Facebook blog of his remarkable journey, Kenny wrote: "An emotional but amazing ending to my 50 day cycle ride.
"I was overwhelmed by the massive welcome I received at the finish line. We’ve now exceeded £21,000 so thank you for your donations.
"And thank you to everyone for all of the messages of support during my ride and all the kind words that I have received since completing my mission. I honestly can’t believe I’ve done it and I am back home!"
Kenny completed the ‘solo and unsupported’ 2,655 mile long challenge around mainland Britain to raise funds for the MS trust. Kelly Boston, community fundraiser at the MS Trust, said Kenny was a ‘true hero’.
Speaking upon his arrival back home, Kenny said: "I blinked and it was over. Each day blended into the next.
"It was exactly what I expected but it was a challenge and it was never going to be easy.
"It was emotional coming back. It was lovely that so many people came to greet me, including the mayor and town crier. I was overwhelmed.
"I am really chuffed."
Kenny said the hardest part of the challenge was cycling up the A9 in Scotland.
"It was horrible," he said.
"I was cycling down it for 18 miles and it felt never ending. I also had lorries going past.
"In Inverness, the side winds were pushing me into the road.
"I was cycling in Letchworth on the hottest day ever (Thursday, July 25). The heat from the road was unbearable and I lost my voice from the hot air.
"The next day was pouring down with rain. I worked out there were 32 wet days.
"At the end of each day, I could think I've got through that and can now look forward to the next day. It was definitely a challenge."
Before setting off, Kenny received video clips of support from celebrities Davina McCall, Tom Odell and Mark Beaumont, which he said were a boost.
He said: "Having those messages were really special.
"During the journey, [British Paralympic] swimmer Stephanie Millward also sent one in and [Zimbabwean endurance adventurer] Sean Conway sent me a voice message. They were all special but even my messages of support on Facebook pushed me along."
On whether he had plans to complete anymore similar challenges, he added: "This was the biggest challenge I've ever done so there is no point in doing another one. This was special as it was to mark my sister's 50th birthday."