Family memories prompt Keith to get on his bike

31/8/2011 (RS)''Keith Harris (46) a ferryman at Gosport Ferry is cycling between Gosport and Gibraltar from 6th-21st September 2011 and will be raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support and ME Solutions.''Picture: Sarah Standing (113095-2538)

31/8/2011 (RS)''Keith Harris (46) a ferryman at Gosport Ferry is cycling between Gosport and Gibraltar from 6th-21st September 2011 and will be raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support and ME Solutions.''Picture: Sarah Standing (113095-2538)

Friends and supporters welcome back to the White Heart in Denmead, Mick and Angie Upson after they cycled from Lands End to John O'Groats to raise money for Bethany Tiller who is in need of a bone marrow transplant
Picture Ian Hargreaves  (170741-1)

‘Amazing’ couple complete mammoth 1,000-mile cycle to help young Denmead cancer sufferer

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Keith Harris has always been a keen cyclist.

But now he’s taking on a marathon challenge by cycling from Portsmouth all the way to Gibraltar.

Keith is raising money in memory of his aunt, Jo Smith, who died aged 66 of ME, and his uncle, Cyril Cowdrey, who died of cancer aged 78.

Keith, 46, from Kings Road in Gosport, will leave Portsmouth on Tuesday evening to catch a ferry across to France.

From there he will cycle along the coast of France, into Spain over the Pyrenees mountains and across near Madrid down to the south of Spain, crossing the Spanish border into Gibraltar.

‘I chose Gibraltar because it’s at the southern tip of Europe and because of the navy connections with Portsmouth,’ he says.

‘It had a bit of a ring to it, but I’ve never been there before.’

He adds: ‘I’ve got a contact out there who has offered to put me up, which is very kind.

‘I started cycling when I was in Australia and I did a lot of cycling over there. I really got into it.

‘I’ve always been an active person. I cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats in 1995 and I’ve been planning the next one ever since.’

Keith is aiming to cover 80 miles a day, staying at hotels overnight.

He is hoping to complete his trip within two weeks.

‘It’s a mixture of confidence and nerves,’ he says.

‘I’m nervous because I haven’t yet seen the Pyrenees or some of the mountains that Spain could throw up.

‘Around here there aren’t many hills. But I’m mildly confident.

‘I’ve done some research on several places and I’ll find a hotel each night.’

Keith is funding the whole trip and is hoping to raise as much money as he can for Macmillan Cancer Support and ME Solutions.

He says: ‘I’m looking forward to seeing the two countries.

‘I’ve been to France a fair bit, but I haven’t travelled through the Spanish countryside at all, seeing all the smaller places you don’t normally get to see.

‘I hope to get a reasonable reception from people when they find out what I’m doing.

‘But I’m definitely looking forward to it now.’

When Keith reaches Gibraltar, he’s determined to get to the top of the rock and see the famous monkeys.

‘I’ll push my bike up there to take a picture of the monkeys,’ he says.

If you’d like to sponsor Keith for his Gibraltar trip, all you have to do is visit justgiving.com/Keith-Harris2.

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