Work colleagues, friends and family members from across Portsmouth and Plymouth are taking on the 4 Ferry Challenge after owner of Phillips Decorators at Waterlooville, Darren Phillips, wanted to find a new way to keep fit with work colleagues.
The endeavour ‘grew and grew’ from there, with more people eager to take part in aid of Life ‘n’ Chimes, a charity at Fratton Park which helps people living with, or at risk of developing dementia and those who feel socially isolated.
The cycling challenge will see riders catch a ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne on the Isle of Wight, where they will cycle to Cowes and Yarmouth, before getting a ferry back to Lymington to cycle to the New Forest, Southampton and back to Gosport.
They will then return to Portsmouth on the Gosport ferry.
Phillips Decorators workmates, Jamie Graham and Matt Ward, decided the cycling challenge would be an ideal way to do their bit for charity, while supporting family members living with dementia – as both have a parent with the condition.
A group of what was expected to be 10 people has more than doubled thanks to word of mouth and social media.
Matt Ward, whose father has dementia and Alzheimer's disease, said: ‘It’s important because my dad pays a certain amount to the project every week. It’s good, not just for him, but also my step-mum to give them both a bit of respite as well.
‘It's very tiring and it's hard on the partner as much as it is for the person who is actually going to the day care centre.
‘I know they get people in to do activities for them so it goes towards them being able to provide a better service.’
Last Saturday, Matt joined three other participants to cycle the 60-mile perimeter of the Isle of Wight in preparation for the ride.
‘It’s been really good,’ said Matt.
‘A lot of people haven't met each other yet because it's through word of mouth and we're looking forward to meeting everyone that's joined in really. The majority of people have been training.’
Riders set themselves the target of raising £2,000 via their GoFundMe page.
Their running total currently stands at £4,345.
Matt said: ‘We’ve raised this much from spreading the word and badgering people on Facebook and social media and emails through work and clients we work for.’