A MAN has raised more than £3,400 for the Woking & Sam Beare Hospices by cycling nearly 1,000 miles from London to Edinburgh and back.

It is the latest fundraising effort for the hospice by Jason Gaines-Burill, who lived in Pirbright for several years and took part in the Downslink Challenge from when it started in 2016.

The annual 96-mile cycle ride from Knaphill to Brighton and back has raised more than £60,000 for the hospice.

Jason’s motivation for supporting the charity was the care it gave to his wife’s manager at the WWF-UK headquarters in Brewery Road on the edge of the town centre when she was terminally ill.

“I do regular fundraising events and every year I’ve had to try to do better than the previous year so I can still convince people to give money to charity,” Jason said.

He entered the London to Edinburgh to London organised event with a fundraising goal of £2,000.

Most of the £3,438 Jason raised came from fellow members of London Freemasons.

Like most such events, there is a ballot to join the limited number of participants, but Jason’s wife, Sue, volunteered to work at one of the stopover points, which gave him a guaranteed entry.

Jason nearly halfway through the ride. (Picture supplied)

The riders have to complete the journey in 125 hours over five days at an average of around 200 miles a day.

That means cycling for around 20 hours a day with brief stops.

Jason said he found the challenge to be 60% mental and 40% physical. “There were times when it was really tough, arriving at a stopover at 3 or 4 in the morning after riding for 18 hours with a couple of stops,” he said.

“You pass a couple of hotels and you think ‘I could just go in there and sleep’.

“I passed Edinburgh railway station and thought ‘I could be back in London in six hours’. Those are the times you have to dig deep and push through.”

Jason said the best parts of the ride were cycling through beautiful countryside such as the Pennines and the Lake District and vocal support from the volunteers and bystanders.

He said he didn’t get to experience much of Scotland because Edinburgh was in the middle of a continuous session from Brampton, near Carlisle, and back that began and ended in the early hours.

Jason said the event was one of the best he has done.

“There were seven or eight hundred volunteers up and down the country giving up their week. Everybody was friendly.

“You’d get in at three in the morning and somebody was offering to fill your water bottles or help you park your bike.”

Jason and Sue live in Fleet, Hampshire, and he is an engineering manager for a company in Addlestone.

He is preparing for his next event, a 600 kilometre return ride from Paris to Brest on the coast of Brittany in August, when he will be raising more money for the hospice.

Jason said supporting the charity helped to keep him motivated during the London/Edinburgh ride.

Sophie Crossman, who is part of the hospice fundraising team, said: “It is so inspiring to listen to Jason share his experience. It is an astonishing achievement.

“We are so thankful for both the awareness and funds which have been raised for the hospice.”

Paul King, of London Freemasons: “This is a fantastic achievement and the money raised equates to nearly 157 hours of care.”

Jason, who is originally from Zimbabwe, said constant messages of support helped to keep his spirits up.

“The amount of support I received from so many people both here in the UK and around the world kept me going at times and was amazing.

“I’d finish at some silly hour in the morning or wake up and I’d turn my phone on and send Sue an update and I’d be receiving lots of messages of support and that was really nice.”