Cyclists take part in epic ride from London to Venice for Alzheimer’s Research UK

Posted on 15th September 2016

A Saffron Walden architect is part of a group of cyclists covering 1,000 miles across 10 countries in 10 days for dementia research.

Jack Newton is one of 17 riders, who are mostly colleagues in the construction industry, hoping to raise an enormous £100,000 which will be split equally between Alzheimer’s Research UK and Cancer Research UK.

Jack - VeloVeni
Jack Newton

The London to Venice challenge, dubbed the ‘VeloVeni’, takes the cyclists across the Alps and includes 62,336ft of climbing, the equivalent of climbing up Mount Everest from sea level twice.

The team left London on Thursday 8 September for Harwich where they took a ferry across to Rotterdam, Holland, before a day of flat cycling into Belgium and onto the Ardennes Hills.

The group then headed into Luxembourg and onto the Vosges mountains in France, before cycling to Germany through the Rhine valley and Black Forest, emerging at Lake Konstanz on the Swiss border.

They then cycled the length and breadth of Lichtenstein, heading towards its capital, Vaduz. A tough 30km, 3,609ft climb up into the Alps to Davos in Switzerland finished off day seven.

Now on day eight, the riders plan to cycle through the Swiss National Park and will tackle three mighty mountain passes – the Flüela Pass which sits 7,818ft above sea level, the Passo Del Fuorn with its 2,297ft vertical ascent and the infamous Stelvio pass culminating at an incredible 9,045ft.

On day nine a further two mountain passes include Passo Gavia which has a relentless vertical ascent of 4,613ft over 25.4km and then finally the gentler Passo del Tonale.

On day 10, they will travel through Italy and finish in the romantic city of Venice.

Jack Newton, an architect at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners in London, has been supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK for years in honour of his friend Neil MacKay, whose mum Sheila has been living with frontotemporal dementia for 12 years.

Speaking before he left on Thursday Jack, of Saffron Walden, said:

“The past few years have been so hard on Neil and his family as they continue to care for Sheila at home. Research is so important in ensuring that future generations do not have to go through the same experience.

“Some of the group are expert cyclists while others, like me, are at a relatively novice level and will be pushing ourselves to our limits. We have a great group and we’ve all been supporting one another.

“We’ll be funding the entire trip ourselves, 100 per cent of donations will be going to charity. I’ve been training hard for it and I’m very excited to get going.”

The group also includes Douglas Paul, Will Clayton, Dawid Panek, Jörg Majer, Theo Pagnon, Greg Unsworth, John Dent, Jimmy Dent, Aviva Laurenti, Andrew Long, Chris Morrison, Adam Lampon, Dean Jones, Paul Andrew, Fergus Seccombe and Hannah Sensecall.VeloVeni

So far the group has raised over £22,000 and is being sponsored by a number of businesses in the UK and internationally. They include Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, expedition, Kamset, TrueStart, Arup, WIEHAG Holding, ashurst, Deltek, GreenZone, Mace and Evenlode.

Jessica Hiscocks, Regional Fundraising Officer for Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“We are blown away by the lengths Jack and his group have gone to to fundraise for us and we wish them the best of luck on their VeloVeni adventure, we can’t thank them enough. I know the group have a fantastic support team behind them and we’d like to thank them too.

“There are 850,000 people in the UK with dementia, including more than 20,000 in Essex. Alzheimer’s Research UK is the UK’s leading dementia research charity funding the most promising research into preventions and treatments for dementia. We couldn’t do it without our wonderful supporters.”

For more information and updates go to the group’s website at To donate to the challenge go to

Posted in Fundraising news