Les conquers big adventure

A DETERMINED fundraiser who has suffered health problems showed the heart of a champion to complete a challenge of a lifetime.

Les Crownshaw (70) recovered from a scare 18 months ago to ride his bike the length of the country.

He said: “There were three main reasons I wanted to do it.

“One was like a personal goal as I always wanted to cycle from Land’s End to John O’ Groats.

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“Another one was because I had a stent in the heart 18 months ago as I suffered from a bit of a heart problem.

“The third one is because my father-in-law passed away about ten years ago and he was a keen cyclist, too.

“He handed me his old bike which he used to ride, and he never did that adventure.

“So I told my wife: ‘I’m going to make sure his bike actually does it.’”

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Les, of Firbeck, said the challenge had been tough but he enjoyed it, although at times he needed to simply put his head down and cycle as hard as he could.

“I think I got fitter as the adventure went on,” he said.

“The weather was good — I had one morning when it was raining, and I got really wet. I felt good all the way.

“It’s surprising, the biggest challenge — not the hardest section but the biggest challenge — was from the boundary between Derbyshire and South Yorkshire up to Carlisle in Cumbria.”

Les’s wife Jane also had a crucial role, as he explained: “She was supporting me all the way through.

“She was doing the hard work looking after me.

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“I did the easy bit — I did the cycling bit — she did the hard bit.”

Les added he had set up a couple justgiving pages so the British Heart Foundation and his village could benefit from his efforts.

He said: “I’ve raised about £1,600 for the British Heart Foundation and I think I’ve got about £350 for the village hall refurbishment.

“I’m as happy as I can be.”

However, there’s no time to lay back and enjoy the warm glow of success — Les already has another plan in mind.

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“I’m thinking about doing a coast-to-coast challenge next year, cycling from St David’s Bay in Pembrokeshire to Lowestoft in Suffolk,” he said.

“It’s about 400 miles — the widest section of the British Isles, I think.”

Visit https://tinyurl.com/LesBikeChall if you’d like to help Les and his village finish the work on the hall.