Uk/Newmarket: Heroes’ welcome for charity cycling duo Peter Kendall and Richard Whitlock

Peter Kendall and Richard Whitlock completing the Farm Cycle Challenge at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire

Peter Kendall and Richard Whitlock completing the Farm Cycle Challenge at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire - Credit: Simon Hadley

Former National Farmers’ Union (NFU) president Peter Kendall and Oxford Farming Conference chairman Richard Whitlock were treated to a heroes’ welcome after completing a charity cycling challenge.

The duo cycled 1008 miles in 12 days, from Skelmersdale to Stoneleigh, taking in all seven NFU regional offices, including the eastern region office at Newmarket, and the Cymru office on the way.

In the process they raised more than £32,000 for their chosen charities. The pair enjoyed beautiful weather for all but the last day, with the challenge becoming harder as they progressed, due to punishing hills and long distances.

They even negotiated London traffic on day four. By Bristol, the cyclists were still determined, but the bikes were showing signs of exhaustion –Richard’s gears needed repair, then Peter’s rear wheel buckled due to a broken spoke.

Peter said: “This has been one of the hardest things either of us has ever done, and we are so happy to have completed our course. Before I stand up and commit to a challenge as hard as this again I am determined to think it through properly.

“Thank you so much to everyone who has so generously donated to our chosen charities, resulting in a total way beyond our expected target. Thank you also to all those who supported us along the way, including the local farmers and local knowledge which was wonderfully helpful. Also the cyclists who kept us company from the regional offices, preventing me and Richard from coming to blows each day.

“Although it’s been tough, it has been an amazing experience. What a privilege for us to cycle through some of the most beautiful countryside in the world, and to witness how well our farmland is cared for right across the UK.”

Most Read

The pair set off on Monday, June 16, from Skelmersdale in the north west of England and made their way clockwise around the country, returning on Friday, June 27. The aim of the Farm Cycle Challenge was to raise money for three farming charities in the UK, the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, the Addington Fund, the Farming Community Network, as well as for Farm Africa, a charity working to end food poverty in Eastern Africa.