Professional model from Norwich to take on challenge of a lifetime to support children in Cambodia

James Davenport will be cycling round the world.

James Davenport will be cycling round the world. - Credit: Archant

James Davenport is no stranger to the hazards of pursuing his dreams.

His rugby career ended prematurely in 2013 when he had to have his spleen removed following a bad tackle.

And a high speed cycling accident down the side of a volcano in Ecuador a year later left him with a metal plate in his wrist.

But it is the 31-year-old's latest adventure which could prove to be the toughest - and most dangerous - challenge yet.

The professional model, from Old Catton in Norwich, is planning to spend three years cycling around the world.


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And he is doing it to raise awareness and funding for the children of Cambodia - a country he fell in love with while travelling.

'I think it's going to be more of a mental challenge rather than physical,' Mr Davenport said.

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'The thought of theft or injury is not a major concern, but the idea of being by yourself is quite tough.'

The former Sprowston High student will be setting off from The Forum in Norwich at 11am on Monday, May 1.

From there he intends to cycle around 70 miles to Harwich, before catching the ferry over to Holland.

His epic journey will then take him across Europe to Portugal, onto America, around Australia and into south east Asia.

But the former London Marathon runner believes his ride across the Swiss Alps will be the most testing challenge.

He said: 'It won't be like going up Mousehold, it's going to be several miles of steep hills.

'Based on my track record of going down things, the downward slopes could also be quite perilous.'

Mr Davenport is hoping to raise £150,000 by the end of the trip to launch a charity in Cambodia.

Called 'A Sporting Chance for All', it aims to lift children out of poverty through sport in the rural areas of the country.

He said he had the idea while working there in 2012 and hearing about the struggles faced by young people.

Along with his steel-framed bike, Mr Davenport will be carrying around 30kg worth of equipment during the trip.

He has saved around £11,000 to cover his expenses.

Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/abeardabikeandabucketlist

Poignant destination

One of the more poignant destinations on his journey will be Recklinghausen in west Germany.

On September 7, 1941, his grandfather Leslie Davenport was shot down over the area on the way back from a raid.

Aged just 20, he had been a gunner and a wireless operator aboard a Stirling bomber.

But it was badly damaged by flak and as the outer engine burst into flames the crew had to bail out.

He survived, but it was only the start of his ordeal. He became a prisoner of war before being freed by American forces in 1945.

Mr Davenport said he will be visiting the crash site for the first time, which has a plaque commemorating the incident.

It was not the first time his grandfather had to bail out of an aircraft.

During the early years of the war, his crew also had to parachute out of their Short Stirling Bomber before it crashed at Newton Flotman, near Norwich.

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