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Alan’s Land’s End to John o’Groats challenge at Cypress Court

Alan Gibbs, care home resident from Crewe, has set himself the not inconsiderable goal of cycling from Land’s End to John o’ Groats – without leaving the comfort of the lounge at Cypress Court Care Home!

A keen cycler in his youth, 75 year-old Alan came up with the idea after striking up a friendship with local fitness trainer Andy Lewis, who specialises in training for people with complex mental needs and was already running popular weekly exercise classes at the home.

Having provided a suitable static bike, Andy is currently visiting Cypress Court three times a week to supervise Alan as he cycles 11-12 miles at each session. Each route is meticulously planned using Google maps, with real landmarks admired ‘virtually’ along the way, while a map on the wall shows the route and is updated after each session.

Aiming to be in Crewe by Christmas and in Scotland before the end of March, Alan is making fantastic progress, and since Andy posted the story on his LinkedIn page, has received cards from well-wishers all over the world! Alan is now looking for a local sponsor to support his efforts and help raise money to spend on more bespoke experiences and activities for his fellow residents at Cypress Court.

Andy Lewis said:

“I couldn’t be prouder of Alan – his effort and commitment are unbelievable. We wanted to make this as true a test as possible so I have stuck carefully to the actual Land’s End to John o’Groats route and added in hills where appropriate. We also have a good laugh together discussing which pub we might stop at each night and admiring local landmarks as we ‘pass’.

“The other residents at Cypress Court have been fantastic in their support. They love to see Alan doing his thing on the bike and there’s a great atmosphere in the room as they cheer him on. Alan is a great example of what can be achieved in a care home setting if you think creatively with the individual in mind. It’s been a privilege to be involved and witness Alan’s pride as he progresses.”

Alan recalled:

“I used to cycle a lot with friends – one time we did the 76 miles from Inverness to Fort William and another time we camped on the Isle of Mull.

My father-in-law had cycled from Land’s End to John o’Groats at the age of 65 and it had always been my goal to do the same. I thought my health issues had put paid to that but when Andy suggested doing it on a static bike I knew I had to give it a go.

This has completely changed my life in the home. It’s given me something to aim for and look forward to every week and I’m grateful to everyone who has made it happen.”

Activities Leader Glenda Wain added

“Exercise is so important to our residents and bringing Andy into the home has benefitted many of them enormously. As well as Alan’s challenge Andy also leads seated group exercise sessions and has even had some of our residents boxing!

Not only is it brilliant for them physically, it’s also mentally beneficial – helping to lift moods and provide a sense of achievement – and shows it’s never too late to try something new!”

Any local businesses interested in sponsoring Alan on his Land’s End to John o’Groats challenge should contact Cypress Court Care Home on 01270 868946 or Andy Lewis at RIDE! on 07577 646344.

Date published: 6 November 2018


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