Ryan Barrell of Hornchurch cycles 4,400km to Istanbul for Help for Heroes

A Hornchurch student is celebrating the completion of a 4,400-km cycle for charity – even though he ended up in hospital.

Ryan Barrell, of Station Lane, spent his summer cycling from London to Istanbul in aid of Help for Heroes, the charity that supports those injured in Britain’s armed conflicts.

“Seeing all the different cultures along the way was amazing – you just cross the border and everything is different,” said Ryan, 20.

“For me the highlight was going along the Croatian coast. It was absolutely beautiful. The weather was perfect and the people were lovely.”

The ride was a little bumpy at times – for one thing, the Italian sunshine landed Ryan in hospital for three days with heat stroke, and the group was constantly dehydrated.

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But the Middle Eastern Studies finalist and his 13 teammates still made it to their destination in 41 days – four days quicker than their target.

“The last day was a hectic one,” said Ryan, of Station Road. “On our map it showed the road into Istanbul as a small road, but we got there and it was a five-lane motorway so we had to find an alternative route.”

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He added: “We were very happy to get there. We sat down outside our hostel and a man just came up and gave us a lot of Turkish tea, which was very refreshing.”

The group has yet to tot up its donations – at last count they stood at �25,000.

But one thing’s for sure – Ryan’s ready for a rest.

“I won’t be doing it again any time soon,” he said. “It was a lot of hard work.”

To help the group reach its target of �50,000, visit www.justgiving.com/ryanbarrell.

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