After 44-year-old Gavin Towers’ two children set off on cycling challenges to fundraise for Save the Children, he decided to follow up their efforts by raising money himself. So he set himself the goal of cycling the entire coast of the UK in as few days as possible.
The distance would be a stretch for anyone, but what makes it particularly challenging for him is that he can only partially see. Gavin has retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that means this might be his last chance to cycle Britain’s coastline and witness its beauty with his own eyes.
[Read more: Fancy dress fan raises over £8k for Save the Children]
“I really wanted to test myself knowing that I might not be able to do this again in the future,” he says. “It’s been incredibly difficult, having to endure all kinds of weather. But it’s been worth it.”
Because of his visual impairment, Gavin has very limited peripheral vision and can’t see in darkness. In the long term, he could lose his sight entirely. This adds special meaning to the visual memories he builds up along the way.
Travelling through Scotland, the East of England and Wales, he and his support team have encountered herds of wild deer as well as a colony of seals. He has been astounded by landmarks such as the stunning scenery of John O’Groats and the view from Humber Bridge.
To make things even better, he has been overwhelmed by the support he has received. People see their support vehicle printed with Save the Children’s logo and cheer the team as they cycle past, sometimes chasing after them to offer encouragement or give a donation.
[Read more: How one Californian centre helps find solace after sight loss]
He sees the challenge as a way to come to terms with this mentally and to support those with similar conditions – he is raising funds for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) as well as Save the Children.
So far, he’s managed to collect nearly £4,000. But with about 2,000 miles left still to cycle, there’s plenty of time to sponsor his efforts and push this closer to his target of £10,000.
If you wish to help Gavin meet his target, donate here. To follow his journey visit gavintowerscycling.com.