200-mile cycle challenge for ex-school teacher more than 50 years after leg amputation

Rob Barber is taking on a cycling challenge across Suffolk for the village hall in Walsham-le-Willow

Rob Barber is taking on a cycling challenge across Suffolk for the village hall in Walsham-le-Willows. - Credit: Gregg Brown

A 79-year-old former schoolmaster, who lost a leg below the knee in 1960, is set to cycle 200 miles for charity.

Rob Barber is taking on a cycling challenge across Suffolk for the village hall in Walsham-le-Willow

Rob Barber is taking on a cycling challenge across Suffolk for the village hall in Walsham-le-Willows. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Rob Barber will start his “exhilarating” tour of Suffolk next week, in support of the Walsham Memorial Village Hall appeal.

Despite losing his leg below the knee in 1960, he hopes to travel around 20 miles a day, taking 10 days to finish to tour.

He said: “I will be staying at B&Bs overnight, even reacquainting myself with youth hostels. My wife (Maggie) can’t wait to get me out the house.

“I wouldn’t say I am a cyclist, but I have always used my bike to get from place to place. I cycled to Diss the other day to do some shopping, which is about 25 miles, and I have to say it was exhilarating.


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“I celebrated my 79th birthday in October and I had this shock wake up call, I realised that I would be 80 next, it is a huge number.

“I enjoy cycling and it really went from there. The second reason is to kick-start raising funds for the village hall and really raise awareness in the village of how much goes into it.”

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Mr Barber is the chairman of the community council that maintains the 1950s-built village hall and has been involved with bringing the building up to “21st Century standards” for 15 years.

He said: “We have raised around £250,000 in those 15 years, but more work still needs to be done. We want to update our kitchen so food can be prepared on site. It is a real asset to the village, but has needed a lot of work.”

Mr Barber will start his journey on April 14. The self-confessed “technophobe” admitted it was a very new experience for him. “I have never done anything like it,” he said. “I made my first ever mobile phone call the other day, as I will have to take one with me in case I end up in a ditch.”

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