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Fundraising cyclist to take on epic Australian challenge

Cyclist Ian Gregory and cuddly Zena the tiger with, from left, Challenge and Adventure's Karen Eeles, the Isle of Wight Zoo's Lisa Wright, Isle of Wight Pride's Yve White and Sarah Leahy, from Layla's Trust. Picture by Jackie Gregory.

Cyclist Ian Gregory and cuddly Zena the tiger with, from left, Challenge and Adventure's Karen Eeles, the Isle of Wight Zoo's Lisa Wright, Isle of Wight Pride's Yve White and Sarah Leahy, from Layla's Trust. Picture by Jackie Gregory.

Emily Pearce

[email protected]

@IWCPEmily

Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - 16:33

CYCLING SUPERSTAR Ian Gregory has taken on his most epic challenge yet - a 2,000-mile ride across southern Australia.

The fundraiser will see Ian, who has fibromyalgia and arthritis and is registered disabled, embark on a 25-day tour from Canberra to Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. And it doesn't stop there - once Ian and his group reach the finish line, in the baking Australian heat, they plan to take part in a road race.

A prolific fundraiser for Prostate Cancer UK, after losing his uncle, Don Exell, to the disease several years ago, Ian has previously taken on challenges in the UK and Europe, and stormed seven stages of the Tour de France. He raised more than £4,000 last year alone.

This time, Ian will also be raising money for four Island charities, dubbed the Wight Unity Heroes - Challenge and Adventure, Isle of Wight Pride, the Isle of Wight Zoo and Layla's Trust.

The 48-year-old, who runs a building firm with wife Jackie, 49, said: "Ultimately, I don't see why I can't raise money for charity doing something I enjoy. Why do it just for fun when you can make someone's life that little bit better?

"I hope to hit 1,700 miles but would love to leave Australia with 2,000 under my belt."

Ian said each of the four Wight Unity Heroes held a special place in his heart.

He and Jackie, of Pineview Drive, Gunville, lost their baby son Jordan to cot death in 1996, and know how important charities like Layla's Trust are.

Ian, who has already flown to Australia and is due to set out today (Wednesday), has taken a mascot - a cuddly tiger named Zena, in memory of the zoo's white tiger who died last month - and will be raising awareness of LGBT+ rights during the trip.

You can follow his progress via the Facebook page, The Wight Unity Heroes Cycle Down Under. There is a link to his Go Fund Me page, for anyone who wishes to make a donation.

 


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