Sheffield man takes on epic cycle ride for dementia research in honour of father
05 July 2018
A Sheffield man has begun his retirement with a bang by setting off on a 1,500-mile cycling challenge to raise money for dementia research.
Ian Stocks, 55, took early retirement from his job as an industrial photographer on Friday 29 June and started his epic three-week cycle ride three days later. He is raising money for Alzheimer’s Research UK in honour of his father who has mixed dementia, a combination of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
While for most people riding the length of the UK from John O’Groats in Scotland to Land’s End in Cornwall is the ultimate long-distance challenge, Ian has decided to go even further by also travelling to the ‘four corners’, the furthest mainland points – Dunnett Head (north), Ardnamurchan Point (west), Lowestoft Ness (east) and Lizard Point (south).
“I expect it to be physically tough as there are some significant hills to climb over long distances, but my biggest concern is the mental challenge, being away from family and home and the initial excitement giving way to the reality of the scale of what I have taken on.
“I’m a fairly experienced cyclist but largely on a lightweight road bike. This time I’m on a touring bicycle which is much heavier and I’m carrying overnight kit.
“I have mostly trained by commuting to work, a hilly 50-mile return trip, and I’ve also jogged and walked many miles for additional fitness.”
Ian’s dad, David, was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2009 and Alzheimer’s disease a year later following several years of gradually increasing memory problems and struggling with day-to-day life. He now lives in a care home in Devon.
“As I live 300 miles away from my dad I naturally feel somewhat helpless in being able to support him directly, but while training for this I’ve felt somehow closer to my dad.
“It’s been toughest for Mum who has coped amazingly both before and after Dad went into care. Fortunately, she has many supportive friends locally.
“Along with my brother Andrew and our families we especially miss our jolly dad and grandad at Christmas and more recently the opportunities we would have had to take him away on holidays and days out.
“He loves classical music and we put together a long selection of pieces on a little digital music player. He conducts along to the music despite his otherwise very limited awareness of his surroundings. It’s amazing to see.”
Ian has set a fundraising target of £2,500. To sponsor him go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ian-stocks2
Claire Priestwood, Alzheimer’s Research UK Regional Fundraising Officer for the North East, said:
“We can’t thank Ian enough for taking on this mammoth ride to raise vital funds for dementia research and support the work we do to bring about the first life-changing dementia treatment by 2025.
“We will be following his progress and his route takes him past the Alzheimer’s Research UK head office near Cambridge, so we are looking forward to seeing him and giving him a morale boost to help him complete the challenge.
“There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK and Ian’s story shows the devastating effect dementia can have on a family.
“The vital funds he raises will power world-class dementia research projects and help bring an end to the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.”
For further information about Alzheimer’s Research UK, or to find out more about fundraising for the charity, call 0300 111 5555 or visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org