Pensioner takes on 250-mile tricycle challenge for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices

John Phillips from Shipdham, is doing a 250 mile ride around the Norfolk-Suffolk border in his custo

John Phillips from Shipdham, is doing a 250 mile ride around the Norfolk-Suffolk border in his custom made tricycle, raising money for charity. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

A 72-year-old cycling enthusiast is back in the saddle for his most challenging ride yet in aid of a Norfolk children's charity – a 250-mile adventure in his home-made battery-assisted tricycle.

John Phillips, of Eastgate in Shipdham, near Dereham, has already raised £2,200 for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) by twice pedalling the 150-mile journey from Hunstanton to Quidenham, where the charity has a hospice.

But this year's pedelec road trip will go a step further.

His six-day journey will start on August 27, taking him from his home in Shipdham to King's Lynn and then Littleport in Cambridgeshire before following the Norfolk-Suffolk border past Mildenhall, Brandon, Diss and Lowestoft, to finish in Great Yarmouth on September 1.

He hopes the cross-county effort will add more than £1,000 to his fund-raising total.

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'I really enjoy cycling and if I can combine my hobby with raising vital funds for EACH then it's great. I get to cycle through some beautiful parts of Norfolk, it really is a pleasure, albeit a tough one at times to undertake these challenges.

'I get a lot of people waving at me, and I pick up money on the way. I get talking to people and I get them to sign my form, whether they are on the seafront or in a market place.

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'My flag on the back of the bike to stop me being run over by lorries has got a white section explaining that what I'm doing is a 250-mile ride in aid of EACH, so everyone knows what I'm up to.'

Mr Phillips' tricycle is battery-assisted for steep climbs.

'The battery actually holds you back unless you are going up steep hills,' he said. 'You have to use it sparingly. It propels you at a maximum speed of 12mph, but without it you can ride it at 20 or 30mph. I have been 'flashed' at 30mph through villages before.

'It is very useful in traffic. At Dereham traffic lights you can go a lot faster than the cars when the lights change and you pull away.'

Mr Phillips has supported children's charities for several years and has previously helped a children's hospital in Russia. He is also a classic car enthusiast and can often be found helping out at the Threeways Garage in Shipdham.

He lives with his wife Dorothy and his daughter Victoria also lives in the village – where she has found an interesting way of raising money towards her father's efforts.

'My daughter has horses and she is selling horse muck to raise money,' said Mr Phillips. 'You know what they say: 'Where there's muck there's money!' It is a novel way of doing it, but it is all going into the pot for the cycle ride.'

Laura Shearing, Norfolk fundraiser for EACH, said 'We're so appreciative of John's efforts to help raise funds for the hospice. So much time and effort goes in to planning the routes and training for the ride, it is such a commitment. We wish John well with his upcoming challenge.'

To donate, visit or call 01953 715559.

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