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‘Life with dementia is not over’ - Suffolk man cycles 350 miles for charity

PUBLISHED: 11:30 01 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:49 01 July 2018

Cyclists on the fundraiser for Young Dementia UK stop off at Framlingham Castle during their final leg Picture: ANDREW HIRST

Cyclists on the fundraiser for Young Dementia UK stop off at Framlingham Castle during their final leg Picture: ANDREW HIRST

Archant

A Suffolk cyclist who learned he had dementia, aged 50, has proven life continues after diagnosis – by riding more than 350 miles across the country.

Peter Berry and a group of penny farthing enthusiasts who joined him at The Old Chequers in Friston Picture: PETER BERRYPeter Berry and a group of penny farthing enthusiasts who joined him at The Old Chequers in Friston Picture: PETER BERRY

Peter Berry, from Friston, completed the Aberystwyth to Aldeburgh cycle challenge to raise £3,500 for Young Dementia UK.

Overcoming blistering temperatures, navigational challenges and a knee injury which meant he had to cycle the final section one legged, Mr Berry said he had a “wonderful time”.

“There were days that were very challenging, it was quite exhausting at times, and never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be cycling through Wales in 32C temperatures,” he added.

“It was quite emotional to finish because I was so pleased to be at the end, but at the same time quite sad that it is over.”

Peter Berry and fellow cyclists enjoy a warm welcome in Aldeburgh Picture: PETER BERRYPeter Berry and fellow cyclists enjoy a warm welcome in Aldeburgh Picture: PETER BERRY

Mr Berry completed the challenge with support from Jan Dodd, whose husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years ago.

“Jan stepped in at the last minute after we put out an appeal over Facebook,” he added. “She did all the navigation, and made sure I was drinking enough water. I would never have completed it without her.”

The pair were joined by other supporters en route, including the owner of Sax Velo bike shop in Saxmundham, which donated Mr Berry’s bike, and a group of penny farthing cyclists who they met at the Old Chequers Inn in Friston. Arriving in Aldeburgh on Saturday, they were greeted by the mayor and East of England Co-op, which donated a bottle of prosecco, as well as sponsors Munchy Seeds in Leiston.

On top of raising cash for the charity, Mr Berry wanted to inspire others with dementia.

“It was important to show people that life with dementia is not over – it’s just different,” he said. “There are so many people diagnosed with dementia who go into depression and think they cannot achieve anything.

“I wanted to show that it’s possible to leave your dementia at home for a few days.

“It made me feel like what I was, not what I’m becoming.

“Dementia is a progressive disease and we all know the outcome, but it’s what we achieve in the meantime that’s important.

“If I can inspire just one person with that message then it’s been worthwhile.”

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