Charity champ saddles up for ride of his life

Peter Gaimster
Peter Gaimster

A charity champion who battled back from illness has raised £2,500 after completing a special bike ride.

Peter Gaimster, operational housing manager at Eastbourne Borough Council, was diagnosed with a sarcoma in his leg last November and underwent surgery twice the following month.

Sarcomas are rare cancers that develop in the muscle, bone, nerves, cartilage, tendons, blood vessels and the fatty and fibrous tissues.

It was during his recovery period that he learned about a cyclist who had entered the Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100 event in aid of St Michael’s Hospice and had to pull out because of a broken leg.

Instinctively, he decided to take his place – even though he didn’t even own a bicycle at that time.

Peter bought a bike and began training for the 100-mile challenge but before arriving at the start line on August 10, he had only pedalled for up to 50 miles previously.

To add to his pre-event nerves, it was the weekend the tail end of Hurricane Bertha struck and the forecast was so poor that organisers decided to cut out part of the route because of safety fears, reducing the distance to 86 miles.

The weather predictions proved accurate and Peter had to cycle through high winds and pelting rain to complete the course but managed an impressive time of five hours seven minutes.

“The weather was absolutely awful and the rain was beyond torrential at times with the sky overhead totally black, but it was a great personal achievement for me,” said Peter, who has already registered for next year’s event.

“I would like to say a big thank you to all those who have been so generous with their donations to such a worthwhile cause.”