Stubbington vicar gets on his bike in cycling challenge

112924-565_CYCLING_VIC_SR_17/8/11'Left to right. Rev Stephen Girling, Tim Prestidge , Joffy Girling and Michael Abley who are cycling from Lands End to John O'Groats to raise money for clean water projects in Uganda.''Picture:Steve Reid 112924-565

112924-565_CYCLING_VIC_SR_17/8/11'Left to right. Rev Stephen Girling, Tim Prestidge , Joffy Girling and Michael Abley who are cycling from Lands End to John O'Groats to raise money for clean water projects in Uganda.''Picture:Steve Reid 112924-565

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A VICAR is celebrating his 50th birthday by cycling an amazing 900 miles to raise money for people in desperate need of clean water in Uganda.

The Vicar of Crofton parish Rev Stephen Girling is preparing to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats with his son and some of his son’s friends from college and university.

The group of eight will start their mammoth ride tomorrow, cycling around 100 miles every day. They will fly home on August 31, the day before Mr Girling’s birthday.

‘It’s an opportunity to do something with my son and raise some money for good causes,’ he said.

‘I have been doing a lot of practice for it.

‘I have never done more than three long distance rides in a row so I am quite apprehensive.

‘The worst bit of the whole route is out of Devon and Cornwall because it’s so hilly. I have never done serious hills like that.

‘But I have done a reasonable amount of practice in clocking up the miles.’

All the money raised will go towards national charity Tearfund, to provide clean water for homes and schools in Uganda.

‘My wife and I and our church have had a long association with Tearfund,’ he added.

‘They are pretty good at making sure the money gets right to where it’s needed. It’s a particularly good charity for development work in Africa and in other parts of the world.’

His son Joffy, 19, is studying at the University of Birmingham, but is home for the summer holidays and will take part in the bike ride with his dad.

He said: ‘I came up with the idea initially.

‘I have wanted to do Land’s End to John O’Groats for some years now.

‘I recently went to the Pyrenees and I have cycled quite a bit of Europe.

‘I’m a bit cycling obsessed. I have done quite a bit of training.

‘I’m excited. I’m a bit worried about some of the guys. Dad hasn’t done anything like this before. But everyone should be fine. We will all pull together.’

On the trip the group will stay in youth hostels, church halls and village halls. They are hoping to raise around £5,000.

To sponsor the team, please visit justgiving.com/joffy-girling

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