Pensioner pals with combined age of 202 set to cycle from London to Istanbul to fund charity research project

Three friends with a combined age of 202 are cycling to Istanbul this month.
Three friends with a combined age of 202 are cycling to Istanbul this month.

Northampton man Clive Rockell is cycling 2,500 miles for charity with a little help from his school friends.

Ten years ago, while having a drink in a Northampton pub garden, three school friends toasted to cycling from London to Turkey all in the name of charity.

A decade on, Chris, Clive and Paul who are now in their sixties, are fulfilling their promise.

Chris Dowdeswell, 68, from Surrey, Clive Rockell, 67, from Northampton, and Paul Sorensen, 67, from Kent have been busy over the last few months trying to get themselves into shape for the upcoming challenge.

Clive, who initiated the idea, will set off from The London Eye on September 15 at 9.30am with his two friends, and, in relay, will complete a journey of over 2,500 miles to the Asian part of Istanbul by October 13.

Each cyclist will peddle about 40 miles every day, with a collective aim of travelling 120 miles per day, following the River Rhine, then the Danube and on to Turkey, as they travel through 10 different countries.

The charity bike ride comes as Clive's wife Karen suffered what she thought was a painful heart attack in 2010. It was found to be a SCAD (Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection), which is an under-diagnosed type of heart attack, which can have devastating and, at times, fatal effects, mostly upon young and fit or menopausal women.

Karen has thankfully made a full recovery but as part of her efforts to beat SCAD she has led a fundraising campaign, which has raised over £150,000 in the past three years to fund research by cardiologist, Dr Alice Woods at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester.

Clive, Paul and Chris have set themselves a fundraising target of £2,580, representing £1 for every mile they hope to complete.

The trio are still taking donations and are currently £400 short of their target - with every penny going to the Beat SCAD charity.

To donate to their expedition, click here.