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Father-daughter pair take on 837-mile journey from Land’s End to John O’Groats for Haven House hospice

PUBLISHED: 09:00 17 November 2013

Andy and Emily cycled more than 800 miles from Cornwall to Scotland.

Andy and Emily cycled more than 800 miles from Cornwall to Scotland.

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»How often do we all say “I’ll do that tomorrow”, or “I’ll get round to it”?

Emily poses at the Scottish border with the end in sight.Emily poses at the Scottish border with the end in sight.

For one father and his daughter, pie in the sky turned into a gruelling challenge in aid of Haven House Children’s Hospice.

The pair took on the 837- mile journey from Land’s End in Cornwall to John O’Groats in the Highlands of Scotland armed with nothing but two saddles and four wheels.

It was a throwaway comment from Andy Chilton that prompted 16-year-old Emily into action – dragging her “old” dad with her.

“I was sat at the dining table one day and I just said I’d like to ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats some day,” remembers Andy.

“That was it. Emily turned to me and said ‘let’s go’ and so we did.”

The 57-year-old telecommunications engineer relished the chance to spend time with his daughter, who is studying her A-levels at St Edmund’s College in Ware, Hertfordshire.

In fact it was during their August trip at the road side that Emily found out her GCSE results.

Andy said: “We were about two-thirds of the way through the trip and there we were at the side of the road ringing home for her GCSE results. I’m sure that will be something she’ll always remember.”

Armed with three A*s and five As, Emily and her father, of High Beach, Essex, were on their way to raising more than £2,200 for the hospice in High Road, Woodford Green.

The money was well worth the 90-mile days and mouthfuls of midges, according to Emily, who says the opening stages were the hardest part of the journey.

“The first two days in Cornwall were the hardest because it was the hilliest part of the ride,” she explained.

“From Plymouth we followed the Welsh border and passed through the Lake District, which was a highlight because of the scenery.

“The Highlands were also something very special, but the route dodged the highest mountains. One we climbed lasted for five miles, but I didn’t mind that as much as the midges.”

Emily presented a cheque to Sophie Nathan, a community fundraiser at the hospice, after returning, and chief executive Mike Palfreman has congratulated the pair for completing the gruelling challenge.

The hospice supports children with life-limiting conditions and their families.

Mr Palfreman said: “We really are delighted that they chose to cycle for us, particularly as this is our 10th birthday year.

“We receive limited government funding for our work in the local community so we rely heavily on the generous efforts of people like Emily and Andy to keep our vital services running.”

The father-daughter combination cycled non-stop for two weeks, with the less strenuous days consisting of a mere 65 miles – roughly the distance from Ilford to Cambridge.

Their route kept them away from main roads and avoided the threat of being “mown down” by lorries, though this meant extending their riding time.

“It was water off a duck’s back for Emily,” says Andy. “But I was always ready to stay in bed for a few more hours each day.

“It’s merciless, but I now know I’m not too old to do things with my daughter.”


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