St Neots dad cycles nearly 1,000 miles in 14 days on charity ride

Keith Prendergast, of Eaton Socon, at Land's End in Cornwall before his charity cycle to John O'Groats in Scotland.

Keith Prendergast, of Eaton Socon, at Land's End in Cornwall before his charity cycle to John O'Groats in Scotland. - Credit: Jo Walker & Keith Prendergast

Keith Prendergast, 71, of Eaton Socon in St Neots, has cycled nearly 1,000 miles in 14 days, helping raise more than £3,100 for Royal Papworth Hospital.

Keith cycled the length of Britain to raise funds for the hospital due to the transformational treatment they gave to his son Francis who was suffering from a rare, life-threatening lung condition. 

He said: “I cannot express the admiration, gratitude and debt I owe Royal Papworth Hospital. Thank you is not enough.

The money I raise will go to their research and hopefully, in a small way, help other families who find themselves in such a dark place.”  

The team, Keith Prendergast and partner Jo Walker, outside the motorhome they used to complete the cycle.

The team, Keith Prendergast and partner Jo Walker, outside the motorhome they used to complete the cycle. - Credit: Jo Walker & Keith Prendergast

Keith embarked on his cycle on April 18 from Land's End in Cornwall, and he raced to the finish line at John O'Groats in Northern Scotland by May 5.

By the journey's end, Keith had cycled 950 miles and accumulated a mammoth altitude climb of 44,118 feet, which is more than the climb to Everest.

Keith was supported throughout his journey by his partner Jo Walker who drove a motorhome alongside him.

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During the journey, Keith averaged 70 miles of cycling daily and incorporated a rest day every fourth day to keep him on track.

Keith Prendergast celebrates completing his cycle at John O'Groats, Scotland.

Keith Prendergast celebrates completing his cycle at John O'Groats, Scotland. - Credit: Jo Walker & Keith Prendergast

Alice Macek, Fundraising Manager at Royal Papworth Charity, said: “We are truly grateful to Keith for taking on such a huge challenge, it has been wonderful to follow his journey and witness the outpouring of support he received during his cycle ride.

"The money raised will further research into some of the hardest-to-treat heart and lung conditions which will provide hope to many across the world.” 

During Francis's treatment, Royal Papworth Hospital carried out seven 8-hour lavage procedures, using salt water to ‘wash out’ the lung in a bid to restore his quality of life.

Then in December 2021, the hospital managed to arrest Francis' deterioration, and he has started to make a slow recovery.

Keith said on his fundraising page: "He's working again and getting married in June of this year. It's not over yet but is looking good."

If you wish to donate, visit www.royalpapworthcharity.com/our-fundraisers and search for Keith's Big Bike Ride.