800 mile cycle ride: 80-year-old priest tours Newham and Havering raising money for dementia charity

PUBLISHED: 17:00 17 April 2019

Rev Hugh Dibbens will be cycling 800 miles across Havering, Newham and Essex to celebrate his 80th birthday. Picture: Richard Huckett

Rev Hugh Dibbens will be cycling 800 miles across Havering, Newham and Essex to celebrate his 80th birthday. Picture: Richard Huckett

Richard Huckett

To celebrate his 80th birthday and 50 years serving the Church of England, a priest is cycling 800 miles across Havering, Newham and Essex.

When Rev Hugh Dibbens turned 70 he took on the incredible challenge of climbing the Himalayas.

Ten years later he is taking on another adventure by cycling a minimum of 800 miles to raise funds for Tapestry Care, a charity that helps the elderly based in Inskip Drive, Hornchurch, and Fellowship Afloat in Tollesbury.

He told the Recorder: “Instead of doing the traditional 800-mile route from Land's End to John O' Groats I decided to cycle around London boroughs and Essex with the purpose of cycling to visit community leaders in order to promote the charities.

“I cycle to the appointments and talk about Tapestry and Fellowship.”

Rev Dibbens celebrated his 80th birthday on March 20 with a week of parties and events.

“I felt that as a senior I could demonstrate that being 80 doesn't mean you're past it,” said the priest from Roxwell in Chelmsford.

“In today's world people are living so much longer. Certainly after retirement you need a break but then you've got the rest of your life to think about what you want to do.”

The active priest has written a course called 'Calling All Seniors' which he hopes will inspire more people to challenge themselves.

As a trustee of Tapestry, Rev Dibbens is passionate about supporting organisations that support people with dementia.

He said: “The funding for supporting carers and also people with dementia has had many cuts and even the Alzheimer's society has had to move out of Havering.

“Tapestry is rising to the challenge and putting in new services, but it's struggling.

“We've previously relied on money from the local authority and primary care tusts and now we've got to raise that money ourselves.

“Tapestry engages a significant number of volunteers and more are welcome.”

To date Rev Dibbens has cycled 217 miles, most of which took him through Newham and Essex.

On Tuesday, April 16 he cycled 16 miles and throughout May he plans to base most of his journeys in Havering.


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