Gallery: £7000 raised in AKU bike ride
PUBLISHED: 12:35 08 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:25 06 May 2010
NINE cyclists have completed a gruelling bike ride to raise more than £7,000 towards research into a rare genetic disease affecting the grandchildren of one of those involved. Matt Smith, aged 30, and his uncle Robert Chapman, 49, organised the 300-mile c
NINE cyclists have completed a gruelling bike ride to raise more than £7,000 towards research into a rare genetic disease affecting the grandchildren of one of those involved.
Matt Smith, aged 30, and his uncle Robert Chapman, 49, organised the 300-mile cycling challenge from Paris to London for the AKU (alkaptonuria) Society which was set up by their friend on discovering his two children had the incurable disease.
Less than 250,000 people suffer from the condition which means an enzyme in the body is missing, causing acid to accumulate at 2,000 times the normal rate and eat away at the cartilage in the joints, leading to severe disability.
The children's grandfather, Maurice James, joined the bike ride, as did six other friends from St Albans - Brian Robson, Eddie Gowen, Chris Bumstead, Meirian Jones, Rachel Bell and Garry Nugent.
The five-day trip started beneath the Eiffel Tower and the various legs took them to Beauvais, Abberville and Calais, passing through quaint villages and fields of barley along the way.
On emerging from the other side of the Channel Tunnel they had to cycle through Kent to reach their finishing point of the General Wolfe statue in London where they were greeted with rain and wind.
Friend Nick Sireau, who set up the AKU Society, said the money raised would extend the full-time research programme at Liverpool University by a whole year.
To make a retrospective sponsorship donation visit www.justgiving.com/matthewsmith3 and more information about the AKU Society can be found at www.alkaptonuria.info