Ipswich: Cyclists undertake 600-mile challenge for love of Matilda

FOUR amateur cyclists are preparing for a 600-mile charity challenge.

Joseph Lees, 27, Luke Thresh, 22, Sean Lees, 24, and Malcolm Deacon, 24, will set off on September 1 to cycle from Ipswich to Arbroath in Scotland in aid of Ipswich Opportunity Group – a group that has offered huge support to Joseph’s family.

Joseph’s daughter Matilda, three, has an undiagnosed complex disability which has left her developmentally delayed and unable to meet milestones such as walking and talking.

Joseph said: “We found it difficult at first to come to terms with her condition and felt very isolated as we didn’t belong to any particular group.

“We found groups for specific conditions, but none for pre-school children suitable for our Matilda. We were recommended Ipswich Opportunity Group – finally we ‘belonged’, we were able to mix with other families in our situation and really feel part of a group. We would be lost without this group and would hate to see it go, it relies upon charitable donations.”

The ride will take seven days, cycling ten hours a day and finishing at Arbroath – Joseph’s hometown – on September 7.

Sean, Joseph’s brother, and Malcolm both live in Scotland and will be getting the train down from Scotland to join Joseph and Luke at the starting point in Ipswich. Joseph’s mum will also be driving the back up van, supplied at a discount by Suffolk Camper Van Hire.

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Joseph, who is now a full-time carer for Matilda, said: “I’ve never really cycled before in my life. I wanted to do quite a challenge.”

To support the group, visit mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/josephlees1

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