Shropshire Star

Cyclists on their way to raising £100,000 for Parkinson's UK

A group of nine men are well on their way to raising £100,000 for the charity cause that is close to their hearts.

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The team at John O'Groats

The cyclists are en route to Land's End as part of a marathon effort that has seen them battle the elements after leaving John O'Groats.

The cause of Parkinson's UK has driven them on and they have so far raised more than £75,000 towards their target.

The group will be passing through Shrewsbury on Friday at lunchtime and plan to finish their leg in Ludlow at about 5.30pm.

Tom Graham, who is chairman of Shropshire Star publisher Midland News Association, is part of the group. He is joined by Henry Deakin, James Fenwick, Scott Richardson Brown, Mark Whittaker, Mark Skipp, Tom Osbourne, Boudewijn Verhelst and Charlie Ferrier.

Speaking earlier this week after some tough climbs in the Lake District, Mr Graham said: "We have had a very tough day today and we are all exhausted. But we are determined to carry on, we have the bit between our teeth."

The group, who call themselves the Jogle 23 Crew, have a very personal connection to Parkinson's.

The introduction on their JustGiving fundraising page says they are "Nine blokes. Some middle aged, some pretending not to be. With varying levels of fitness and ability, we leave John O'Groats on May 6 to arrive at Land's End 10 days and 1,000 miles later.

"No electric bikes allowed, just tired legs and raw rear ends. The standard time do this bike ride is 14 days, so we are pushing ourselves."

The group initially planned to get underway in May 2020 but Covid-19 put paid to that, and the postponed ride was again cancelled in 2021 as the virus made a comeback.

They started the challenge in Scotland on May 6 in very windy, foggy conditions.

Mr Graham said: "It was a very very tough first day in typical Scottish conditions."

The Joglers have committed to raising funds to help find a cure for Parkinson's Disease, as many of the team have family experience of this condition.

Parkinson's is a debilitating, progressive neurological disease with no current cure and one in 37 people will be diagnosed with PD in their lifetime. It is the second largest and fastest growing neurological condition More funds are needed to improve research and find a cure.

All the costs associated with the trip are being met by the Jogle team, so all donations will go to Parkinson's UK.

Mr Graham’s father Alan was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2015, which increasingly affected his mobility and quality of life, robbing him of his independence. He later developed Parkinson's-related dementia, and lost his battle in July 2021.

Mark Whittaker's father-in-law, Derek Perks, died due to several Parkinson's-related conditions. Mr Whittaker said watching the rapid decline of proud and formerly active people was heartbreaking for his family.

Henry Deakin's father, David, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and, as a jeweller for many years, the tremors made it impossible for him to continue working.

Mr Deakin said: "He gallantly deals with everything the disease is throwing at him. It is very hard to watch him suffer every day. We have seen first-hand the good that comes from the Parkinson’s UK charity and the NHS.

"There is good news based on the research undertaken and, in 2015, David had a life-changing operation called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) to help control some motor symptoms.

"A surgeon placed thin metal wires in his brain, while he was awake, and these wires send electrical pulses to the brain to help control his shakes.

"We have no doubt, while it was not a cure, it changed his life and gave him better control of his tremors.

"He went from shaking uncontrollably and being unable to hold a knife and fork, or write with a pen, to being able to do basic day-to-day tasks.

"DBS is not a cure and does not stop Parkinson’s from progressing, but it has given David a much greater quality of life than we thought possible. We want DBS to be available to more people diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease."

For more information, or to give to the fund, visit