Friends aim to cycle to Istanbul

Paul McCormick and Stephen Parker are cycling to Istanbul EMN-160229-131443001
Paul McCormick and Stephen Parker are cycling to Istanbul EMN-160229-131443001
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Paul McCormick and Stephen Parker

Paul McCormick, 54, and Stephen Parker, 61, are embarking on the once-in-a-lifetime challenge.

The friends are cycling together - carrying their own food, water and equipment - across Europe in the hope of raising money for those in need. They hope to reach Istanbul on May 7.

Paul is raising money for Second Helpings, a Stamford-based group aiming to combat food waste and poverty. Second Helpings salvages safe food destined for landfill, cooks it and serves it to hungry visitors. He hopes to raise £2,000.

Paul and his wife, Mary, volunteer at Second Helpings at the weekend.

Paul said: “Despite Stamford’s outward appearance of relative affluence, there are lots of people who need extra help. We provide nutritious food for the elderly, lonely, ill and disadvantaged, give them a welcoming and inclusive space, and do some good for the environment too!”

He said his main challenges will be physical as he suffers from osteoarthritis in his knee - and mentally continuing when cold and tired.

While at university, Paul set off on a similar cycle challenge but unfortunately didn’t complete it so added that he sees this as “unfinished business”.

Stephen is cycling to raise money for the Huntington’s Disease Association. Huntington’s often surfaces in sufferers between the ages of 35 and 55, and affects their communication, feeding, movement, behaviour and emotional health, usually worsening until death. Stephen is passionate about the charity, explaining that he recently attended a HDA conference.

He said: “I’ve met sufferers, their families and their carers and now I want to help the charity by raising money for the professionals working towards a cure.

“The cycle will be tough.”

The pair will be camping along the route, and relying on the goodwill of strangers.

The pair have recently raised money for other good causes including the Brain Tumour Charity and Mind and are grateful for any sponsorship that anyone can offer.

To find out more or to sponsor them visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/parkerman3 or https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/paul-mccormick.