THERE are thousands of miles between Afghanistan and Titchfield – and this naval analyst is going to cycle them all.
Chief Petty Officer Paul O’Shaughnessy, 47, from Titchfield, has set himself a mammoth task while deployed in Afghanistan.
He will pedal the staggering distance of 4,600 miles at an average speed of 18mph, the distance from the desert warzone to his home.
Juggling the challenge with his duties while on operations at Camp Bastion, Paul is devoting all of his spare time to achieving the feat before the end of his four-month tour.
He said: ‘It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s one I’ve been planning for some time now.
‘When I’m lacking motivation I just have to remind myself that it’s all for a very good cause, and every kilometre cycled is a step closer to home.’
Paul has chosen the Bradbury Fields centre for the blind and partially-sighted to benefit from his fundraising.
The cause is one that is close to his own heart.
His mother, Marie, lost her sight a few years ago and now depends on the centre for essential support.
When Paul eventually returns home from Afghanistan, he has plans for another cycling challenge up his sleeve.
He will cycle from his home in Titchfield to Bradbury Fields, in Liverpool – a further 300 miles.
Paul added: ‘I am very aware that without the fundraising efforts of the staff and supporters, centres like Bradbury Fields would not be able to continue their important work within our communities.
‘Hopefully my wife will give me a lift home.’
Paul has acquired a bike in Camp Bastion which he will ride around the base to rack up the miles, along with exercise bikes in the camp’s gym.
Paul joined the Royal Navy in 1982, serving in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, and northern Iraq.
He has also completed a previous tour of Afghanistan.
Paul lives in Titchfield with his wife Elizabeth, their four cats and nine rabbits.
To find out more about Paul’s challenge, or if you would like to sponsor him, visit charitygiving.co.uk/pauloshaughnessy.