A DETERMINED cycling duo have completed a gruelling challenge to raise funds and awareness Alzheimer’s Research UK.Battling rain and overnight conditions, Matt Mooney and James Osborne, both 26, spent 24 hours riding the perimeter of Dovestone Reservoir.
Backed by family and friends, they completed their ride of 139 miles around a twisting 2.5 mile loop at the Greenfield beauty spot.
And their efforts have so far raised more than GBP6,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK, which is a cause close to their hearts.
Matt, from Denshaw, lost his grandfather Jack Thompson to the illness two years ago aged 80.
He said: “What hit me so hard and upset me so much with my grandad wasn’t just that he died.
“It was how it turned a proud, adventurous and admirable man I looked up to into a shell of a person that couldn’t recognise his own family. Alzheimer’s is such a cruel disease.
“My grandad used to hold seminars to hundreds of people at a time. He hiked the Himalayas. He trekked the jungles, hunting for rare birds.
“He sailed the Antarctic and the Arctic in search of polar bears and penguins. He was an adventurer and nature lover in the truest sense of the words.
“To see his deterioration upset me far more than I can put into words. To see a man of such intelligence and pride be broken down to struggling to sing nursery rhymes, being unable to dress himself and eventually dying with family members around him he didn’t recognise was crushing.
“My grandad instilled into me a love of the outdoors from childhood. I have amazing memories of hiking in the hills in all weathers with him and my grandma.
“He’s the main reason I love being in the outdoors to this day. Without him, my business MTB Fitness wouldn’t exist and I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”
“Whether you have experienced Alzheimer’s first hand or not, we can all relate to its horrific effect and the heartbreak it causes.
“I implore you to donate what you can to cure Alzheimers. I can’t tell you how much it would mean to me and all of my family.”
James, who completed the ride in memory of his uncle Frank Osborne, who died aged 91, said: “He was a polite, proud man and always dressed immaculately.
“He was an engineer, loved maths, numbers and anything with an engine. But his love for cars was nothing compared to his love for my Auntie Millicent.
“He met Millicent in 1938 just before WW2. They spent the majority of the war separated but they both waited till the war was over. 70 years of marriage later, they were still incredibly in love.
“He would recall stories from the war over the dinner table and have everybody crying with laughter from his terrible jokes.
“Not too far into the future, Frank started to deteriorate. His Alzheimer’s began taking over. He stopped wearing a tie. Became very insular and didn’t tell his jokes anymore.
“I remember the last time I saw him in the home. He couldn’t remember anybody’s name and I don’t think he knew who anybody was. But he looked my way and winked.”
He added: “When Matt asked if I wanted to ride my bike for 24 hours in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK, I did not hesitate.
“We were both up for the challenge and we resolved to complete it whatever the weather.”
To make a donation to their cause, go online: www.24hourbikeride.com