I'm a double cancer survivor, cyclist and walker who does various challenges for different charities, mainly cancer-related.

In 2016 I climbed every single 'Birkett' in the Lake District - all 542 fells over 1,000' within the National Park, including all 214 Wainwrights. I've also done a three-week cycle tour of Tasmania in February 2015 and amongst other things, I've cycled from Land's End to John o'Groats (2003), Rotterdam to Lemvig (Denmark) (2005), walked the Pennine Way (2008) completed (my first) ascent of all 214 'Wainwrights' in the Lake District in only 55 days (2009), cycled 4,500 miles around the coast of Great Britain (2011), cycled all 42 of the accessible Western Isles of Scotland in under a month (2012), twice abseiled 230 ft from the top of The Big One in Blackpool, cycled the WWI Western Front from London to Compiegne via Ypres and Arras (2014), cycled 750 miles in the Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton (2014), done a bit of sky-diving and cycled Australia's Great Ocean Road - just before lockdown in 2020.

Altogether I've raised over £120,000 for my charities including The Christie, Cancer Research UK, the Rosemere Cancer Foundation, and ABF (The Soldiers' Charity) and I was mightily chuffed to receive the British Empire Medal in the 2014 New Year's Honours List.

I'm a Rotarian and give illustrated talks about my adventures in exchange for a donation to charity, so if you're looking for a speaker leave me a message. I am also Event Organiser for the Ribble Valley Ride Cycle Sportive, to be held this year on Sunday 5 September 2021 - more details at www.ribblevalleyride.org

You can also follow me on Twitter - @CancerBikeMan and on Facebook - just search for Bill Honeywell

Cancer Research UK is the world's leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research, whilst The Rosemere does fantastic work for patients in Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The French Connection

Clitheroe is twinned with Rivesaltes in the south of France and there are regular visits between the two towns, usually involving light hearted football matches, spearheaded by the regulars of the Wagon & Horses pub who style themselves The French Connection.

This April’s visit by the Clitheroe contingent was slightly different in that two regulars – Roger Hargreaves and Pete Parkes – cycled the 1,000 miles there,  taking about two weeks to do the trip and raising money for various charities including the North West Air Ambulance, Riding for the Disabled, Crossroads Care and my Cancer Research UK fund.

They had a celebration on Saturday night in the form of a black-tie ball at the Stirk House, Gisburn, which I attended with Val, Frank & Bern (who drove the motorhome on the penultimate week of my ride).  A good time was had by all, although I was a bit embarrassed because every time the compere mentioned Roger & Pete’s ride, he compared it – not very flatteringly - to my 4,500-mile Round-the-Coast bike ride!  Roger has a great sense of humour and wasn’t in the least bothered.

After the meal it was time to present the cheques and I was thrilled to receive £1,000 for Cancer Research UK.  So a thousand thanks to the French Connection!

On the following day, Sunday, it was my turn to have a post-ride ‘bash’ – this time a barbecue in our back garden. Clearly, I don’t share the same style or panĂ¢che as the French Connection guys!  On the guest list were supporters, family, neighbours and motorhome crews; amazingly the weather held off, apart from the high winds, but they weren’t a problem, fortunately.

(Drinks were obtained from D Byrnes of Clitheroe who provide an excellent sale or return service for such occasions – Byrnes’s wine shop, in Clitheroe town centre, is legendary, and if you haven’t visited it yet you ought to put it on your ‘to do’ list.)

Thanks go to Tony Spencer and Frank who manned the barbecue, and to everyone who came and had such a good time – it was an excellent way to celebrate the success of the ride.

The total amount raised for Cancer Research UK, including money pledged from the Rock at the Castle event, has now gone over the £25,000 mark and there is still the Backridge Autumn Fayre to come the weekend after next.  That’s comfortably above my original target – which for a long time I thought was over-optimistic!  You can still donate if you wish by following the links on this blog.

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