TIRELESS fund raiser Dr Chris Stockdale has completed his marathon cycle around the coastline of Britain.
The retired GP, who lives in Tanworth-in-Arden, finally crossed London’s Tower Bridge last Sunday, almost 11 months after setting out on his epic journey from the same spot.
It was an emotional finale, particularly after the 3,594-mile trip had to be temporarily abandoned in November last year following a serious road accident which almost claimed Dr Stockdale’s life.
The 66-year-old was wheeling his bicycle across a dual carriageway near Camarthen when it was struck by a car travelling at around 70mph and he was thrown into the air dislocating his shoulder.
The big-hearted doctor, who is perhaps best known for his marathon charity swims, is raising funds for the West Midlands Breast Group Research Fund and Macmillan Cancer Support.
Following last November’s accident he had hoped to resume his cycle ride in February but plans were delayed as he had to undergo surgery on his shoulder.
He eventually got back in the saddle on May 14, covering Devon, Cornwall and the south coast before returning to Tower Bridge, where he set out from on July 31 2009.
His wife Margaret and a group of friends were there to welcome him with placards, flags and banners, before having a celebratory lunch on The Embankment.
The group included immediate past president of Monkspath Rotary Club Philip Woollard. Dr Stockdale, a fellow Rotary Club member had organised the bike ride to coincide with his year as president.
A relieved Dr Stockdale, who hopes to raise £10,000 admitted it had been hard work and said he was now planning to take things easy for a while.
“I was on the road for 65 days averaging just over 55 miles a day and the ride was interrupted on three occasions by ill health - two attacks of bronchitis which forced me off the road for several weeks and the accident,” he said.
“In time I shall be able to accept that I have achieved my goal but even now as I recall my first day on the congested A13 I find it hard to understand what has driven me to continue in the face of almost daily and often exhausting challenges.”
* To sponsor Chris send cheques (payable to Monkspath Rotary Club 1595) to Dr C Stockdale, 5 Bellfield, Tanworth-in-Arden, Solihull B94 5AW or visit www.justgiving.com/dr-chris-stockdale..