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Hornchurch adventurer to cycle to Italy for hospital charity

Dan Pargeter and David Noakes are riding to Italy for charity. Dan Pargeter and David Noakes are riding to Italy for charity.

Saturday, March 1, 2014
6:00 PM

Two thrillseekers will set off on a thousand-mile journey to Italy in April to raise money for a London hospital.

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Novice cyclist David Noakes, 24, of Hornchurch, and his friend Dan Pargeter, 25, are attempting the long-distance trip to Lucca, in Tuscany, to raise money for Friends of the Royal London Hospital.

After his father passed away tragically in January, the pair’s friend Matthew Cox asked them to use the trip as a way to raise money for the hospital that cared for him.

Having already completed one extreme fundraiser, known as the Timbuktu Challenge, in 2011, David was never going to say no.

“The hospital were really supportive to the family and did all they could for Matthew’s dad,” he said.

“So when he asked me to raise money for the hospital charity I said ‘yeah, definitely.’

“I had already asked my friends about doing the London to Paris cycle but no one was really interested. In December I suggested Italy, where my mum has a place, and we decided to do it.”

The pair will start from the hospital in Whitechapel, and head south, with “no real route planned.”

But David is under no illusions, and is aware he has a lot of work to do in preparation.

“The first time I got on it [the bike] I seriously went about a mile and thought ‘I am going to be sick’.

“We’re going to have to do 60 miles a day. At the moment I’m doing 40 miles on the weekend and about 15 a day.

“I just love the whole adventure,” he said, “you can see all these sights when you fly, but when you’re actually going through it, it’s unreal.”

And he is already planning his next rally adventure to Mongolia next year, though his worrying mother Barbara admits she has to “grit her teeth.”

“I get worried,” she said, “but he’s an adult now. I’m very proud of him. He does it on a shoe string.”

To donate to David and Dan, visit justgiving.com/london2lucca.

To read about David’s Timbuktu Challenge, click the link on the right.

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