A FATHER and son, along with friends and members of Hereford Rowing Club, have completed the challenge to cycle from London to Brighton

Dave Gittins and son Ollie took on the challenge in support of Mr Gittins' wife, Anna, who is currently undergoing treatment for bowel cancer.

The team tackled the 55-mile route on September 10, heading out from the centre of the capital city, through the English countryside, and down to the sunny Brighton seafront. They have raised £7,910 for Bowel Cancer UK.

Mrs Gittins was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2022 at the age of 46. She is part of the parent support network of Hereford Rowing Club, where her son, Ollie, was a member of the junior squad.

The club came together to take on this challenge to support Mrs Gittins while also raising essential funds for Bowel Cancer UK.

Mr Gittins said, “Some of the ladies from the group decided they wanted to show support for Anna and her battle with this horrible disease by doing some fundraising. They came up with taking part in the London to Brighton ride. When I found out what they were doing I thought I wouldn’t mind a go at that. We ended up with 22 members and friends of the club also signing up to take part.

“Having just turned 50 and not having done anything particularly sporty for many years, I knew I was going to have to take the training seriously. Having something to concentrate on has helped us both get through some hard times in the last few months.


“Training as a large group and socialising afterwards has really helped from a mental health point of view.

“The day of the cycle is one I’ll never forget. It surpassed all our expectations, and everyone completed with no mishaps. There was such a buzz afterwards with everyone on the beach chilling out.

“Anna is now wanting to push further in lobbying for younger people to be tested on the NHS and making more ladies of a certain age aware that a lot of the symptoms from perimenopause also cross over to bowel cancer. If Anna had not seen a particularly switched-on GP, she would not have been diagnosed until much later because of putting existing symptoms down to perimenopause."

Luke Squires, director of fundraising for Bowel Cancer UK, says: “We’re so grateful to Dave and the Hereford Rowing Club for taking on such an impressive challenge for us and we send our huge congratulations to them for going above and beyond their fundraising target."