January 26 2015 Latest news:
Friday, January 31, 2014
Cycling adventurer Matt Andrews is heading home to Norfolk after an 18,000 mile fundraising effort in memory of his best friend.
The 27-year-old’s intrepid journey involved crossing deserts and skimming war zones as he got to grips with the epic challenge of spanning the globe on a bike.
He shared the experience with university friend Anthony King in memory of Tony Young, a London-based teacher who died of a brain tumour aged 41 in June 2010.
And on tomorrow after 17 months of thigh-straining travel the pair will ride into London accompanied by a cavalcade of local friends and family, some of whom will join them for the last 25 miles.
Matt’s mother Julie Andrews of Cromarty Way, Caister, said it was likely to be an emotional reunion after so many months away.
“I am very proud of both of them,” she said. “It has had its moments and it is nice to think it’s over, but it is going to be quite difficult for them to get back to normal life. They have cycled along the Afghan border and across Australian deserts facing the challenge of carrying enough water and food. They got used to the cycling fairly early on but have had some hairy moments.”
Mrs Andrews, 52, said she had tracked their journey every step of the way and endured some worrying moments when the GPS failed and the pair fell off the radar for a few days. “My geography has improved no end, however,” she added.
Also among the welcome party which will include Matt’s father Stephen Andrews and brother Scott, will be his uncle Martin Andrews, also of Caister.
Mr Andrews said family and friends were aiming to meet the now bearded bikers at Hampton Court Palace and cycle the last 25 miles to Trafalgar Square.
“It has been well over a year now and it is going to change their lives completely,” he said. “We are extremely proud and relieved that they are safe. It’s a heck of an achievement and all for a worthwhile cause.”
The pair are raising money for the Brain Tumour UK charity. They have so far had pledges of £6500 but are hoping to increase that figure.
Super-fit Matt, described by his mother as “always on the go”, used to swim for Norfolk and went to Caister High School and East Norfolk Sixth Form College.
He set off in September 2012 on a route crossing Europe, North America, New Zealand, Australia and Asia.
He quit his job as a science teacher to cycle round the world and is coming home to Caister to de-assimilate from global travel next week.
In a short film to promote their journey Anthony said making themselves homeless and jobless took them out of their comfort zone. He described the experience as “liberating” and “epic”.
Their friend who died had planned to cycle to New Zealand - where he grew up - after the 2012 Olympics, a journey the pair made in his memory scattering his ashes along the way and visiting his family.
To sponsor Matt and Anthony, visit www.travellingyoung.co.uk.