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Two pals ‘bored of lockdown’ to cycle epic 700-mile trek for charity

PUBLISHED: 07:30 12 July 2020 | UPDATED: 10:20 14 July 2020

Alex Pilgrim and David Hooley are preparing for a 700-mile cycle ride in aid of Muscular Dystrophy UK. Picture: AMELIA HARFORD

Alex Pilgrim and David Hooley are preparing for a 700-mile cycle ride in aid of Muscular Dystrophy UK. Picture: AMELIA HARFORD

A pair of friends from Ipswich are to get on their bikes for the first time in years - to embark on a 700-mile journey to Scafell Pike and back for Muscular Dystrophy UK.

Alex Pilgrim and David Hooley are preparing for a 700-mile cycle ride in aid of Muscular Dystrophy UK. Picture: AMELIA HARFORDAlex Pilgrim and David Hooley are preparing for a 700-mile cycle ride in aid of Muscular Dystrophy UK. Picture: AMELIA HARFORD

According to the charity, 22-year-old Alex Pilgrim was “bored of lockdown” in April when he messaged his friends on WhatsApp suggesting a mammoth ride, which also includes scaling the mountain itself on foot and travelling through three national parks.

Most of them laughed and dismissed the idea – apart from pal David Hooley, also 22, who agreed to join Alex on the challenge once lockdown restrictions were lifted.

The pair, who met at school, are now preparing to set off on Monday, July 27 in honour of Alex’s father Carl, who has limb girdle muscular dystrophy.

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David said: “When we first told people what we were doing, everyone thought it was a joke. But now people are taking it a bit more seriously and are being really supportive.

“I probably haven’t done as much training as I should have, but I’m looking forward to the challenge and am determined I will do this.

“I’ve never done anything like it before, but now that it’s so close I realise it’s actually happening.”

Speaking of his father’s illness, Alex said: “I remember him walking when I was younger. But over the years I have seen the changes his condition has brought.

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“He now has an electric wheelchair, and this has given him more freedom.

“Muscular Dystrophy UK is a cause close to our hearts, and we hope to raise as much money as possible.”

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Speaking about the cycle, he added: “I was supposed to join the Royal Marines this year but it has been delayed because of Covid-19.

“I decided I wanted an adventure and I thought: ‘What have I never done before?’

“I’ve never been to the Lake District, and I’ve certainly never cycled 700 miles, so I decided to do that.

“I’ve done quite a lot of training and I’m feeling confident.”

Dan McNally, head of regional development at Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: “We’re so grateful to David and Alex for taking on this amazing challenge, which will help us to continue supporting people with muscle-wasting conditions.

“Cycling 700 miles over 10 days is no mean feat, and we are hugely impressed by this effort.

“Charities like ours are needed now more than ever, but funds are stretched because of Covid-19. Support from people like David and Alex is even more vital at this time.”

To sponsor Alex and David, visit their JustGiving page.


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