Logan's London to Brighton tribute cycle leaves people in 'awe'
- Credit: Clare Lucas
An Ipswich teenager cycled from London to Brighton on Saturday in memory of a close family friend - and finished in the top five riders.
Logan Mashongamhende, 13, took on the 52-mile journey on September 25 in remembrance of family friend, Billy Hookway.
Mr Hookway died aged 36 last year following a battle with liver cancer. He left wife, Mariam, and four daughters, at the time aged seven, six and twins at two.
His love of a challenge inspired some of his closest friends to launch a fundraising bike ride from London to Brighton - and teenager Logan was determined to take part to honour the man he'd enjoyed spending time with since he was a baby.
He said: "I've always liked cycling, so when the opportunity came up I wanted to see if I could do it. This is definitely the furthest ride I've ever done.
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"But I was riding for Billy and to help his family. My biggest memory of him is when we were in France for his sister's wedding and we were playing for hours in the pool. It was so much fun."
And not only did he complete all 52 miles, he came through in the top five riders, earning himself a prize and plenty of surprised faces from those at the finish line.
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Not that he realised he'd done that well at first -- he said: "The ride was alright. It was hard, but I got through it with my step-dad.
"I was shocked when we got there, because there were a lot of people waiting at the finish line - but it wasn't until I really looked around at the end that I realised we'd finished so quick."
His school, Copleston High, presented Logan with an award in recognition of his efforts.
"Everyone wanted to talk to me about it at school today," Logan said. "Teachers stopped me in the hallway and pulled me out of class, all to ask about what I'd done at the weekend. It felt really good.
"I'd love to do other challenges like this. The group is talking about doing London to Paris next - and with a bit of training I think I can do it!"
Clare Lucas, Logan's mother, said: "He was the youngest rider and although he and my husband did a 40-mile bike ride as a trial, Suffolk is pretty flat in comparison to the route they had to take. There's a killer hill right near the end and he was determined not to get off his bike.
"I was concerned about him doing it to start with. I said he could start halfway, I'd drop him off, but he was adamant that he was doing the whole thing.
"It's been so nice for his confidence, too - he's had that boost that comes with finding something he's good at and coming into his own.
"Everyone on Saturday night was in awe of him and I'm so proud."
She said it was a special day to be part of, even though - in the words of Billy's dad - it was one the family wish they'd never had to have.
Tragically, due to his medical condition, Mr Hookway was unable to take out life insurance and so all money raised by the bike ride will go to support his wife and daughters.
The 100 riders involved wore shirts and windbreakers designed by Mr Hookway's girls, with the words Bike 4 Billy drawn in multi-colours.
The initial target of £10,000 has been long-surpassed, with more than £90,000 donated from 1,500 sources so far.
Logan said he would love to see the total top £100,000, having seen it "go up and up" over the past few weeks.