Sawtry man cycles the breadth of Britain for charity

A 35-year-old stem cell donor has cycled the breadth of the country in less than 24-hours to raise money for charity.

A 35-year-old stem cell donor has cycled the breadth of the country in less than 24-hours to raise money for charity.

Fitness enthusiast Paul Vernon of Warren Croft, Sawtry, joined forces with friends Anthony Harvey and Don Kenyon to ride the 285-miles for blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan.

Setting off at midday on Saturday, July 9 from Barmouth on the North West coast of Wales the trio cycled straight across the width of the country, arriving in Great Yarmouth at 7.30am on Sunday evening.

Averaging an impressive 14.6 mph, they completed the mammoth ride in 19 hours 30 minutes fuelled along the way by pizzas, chips and energy drinks.

“This had always been on the cards after we cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats five years ago,” Mr Vernon told The Hunts Post.

“We thought that after cycling the length of the country we should try and cycle the breadth.”

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Mr Vernon, who works at RAF Brampton, said he registered as a donor last July at an Anthony Nolan clinic run by a colleague in his previous job at RAF Marham in Norfolk.

In January this year he was identified as a match for a patient and has since undergone treatment to donate stem cells.

“It’s just great to be able to give someone a shot at life,” he added, “we’re currently trying to encourage men between 18 and 30 to donate, as there is a shortfall in that age bracket.”

Their valiant effort has so far raised �850 and donations are still being collected.

Anthony Nolan regional fundraising manager Anna Spencer said: “What Paul and his friends have done is an incredible achievement and we’re so impressed by the amount of money they’ve been able to raise.

“As a charity we’re always looking to raise funds in order to recruit more donors to our stem cell register, grow our cord blood programme and fund pioneering research into stem cell transplants.

“We couldn’t do it without support from people like Paul and his friends.”

INFORMATION: A stem cell transplant is sometimes called a bone marrow transplant and is often used so that patients with cancers or blood disorders can receive intense chemotherapy to fight the disease.

The chemotherapy kills stem cells and so after treatment patients receive a stem-cell transplant which then makes normal blood-cells again.

For more information about the Anthony Nolan charity visit