‘The experience of this ride will change my life’

Andrew Croud
Andrew Croud
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David Curwen, centre, hugs his mother with whom he wa sreunited. Completing the group is his brother Keith

THIS WEEK IN 1975: Reunited after 30 years – but only thanks to a kind stranger

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After Andrew Croud’s auntie lost her battle with multiple sclerosis, he decided to raise money for others who suffer with the condition.

So Andrew, 29, plans to go the extra mile in his fundraising efforts this summer when he jumps on the saddle and pedals across America.

He will be joined by 18 other daredevil fundraisers as they cycle from Yorktown, Virginia, to San Francisco.

As part of the mammoth trek – called ‘Bike the US for MS’ – the team will be raising money for four clinics in America which care for people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which causes the breakdown of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

Andrew, of Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, will clock up a staggering 3,850 miles on his bike during the trip, which begins on June 1.

As part of the 60-day ride the team will reach 8,500 ft above sea level as they make their way across the Rocky Mountains.

They will also have to endure the stifling heat as they pedal through deserts in Utah.

Andrew wanted to focus all his time on preparing for the challenge, so decided to quit his job as an engineer for Olympic Fire Protection, a water sprinkler installation firm based in Waterlooville.

He originally planned to do a charity bike ride from Lands End to John o’Groats, but after consulting with friends he set his sights on something bigger.

‘I’ve got a habit of taking on mad challenges,’ Andrew explains.

‘I never used to be a particularly fit person, but then three years ago I decided to change the way I lived my life.’

Andrew became a member of Portsmouth Joggers and before long he competed in his first London Marathon.

He has since has taken part in five other marathons across the country.

‘Without a doubt this is going to be the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced,’ he says.

So far Andrew has managed to raise £2,500.

‘It’s not going to be an easy ride. But the thought of my auntie and the people who have supported me will be the motivating factors throughout.

‘I don’t want to let them down. ‘This is as much for them as it is for me.

‘I decided to quit my job for this challenge because I’m approaching 30 and I’m at that point now where I’m thinking, “it’s either now or never.

‘You have to take that leap of faith and just take whatever opportunity comes your way.

‘The experience of this ride is going to change my life.’