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Ex-pilot Noel Osborne lands Trinidad return cycling challenging, raising more than £18,000

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A RETIRED pilot from Milford swapped the joystick for handlebars to complete an epic 8,700-mile cycling challenge to raise more than £18,000 for charities including Oakhaven Hospice.

Inspired by the care his daughter Jo Rivron (40) and granddaughter Matilda (12) have received as they battle different types of cancer, Noel Osborne pledged to cover the distance between his Milford home and Trinidad, where his parents were born.

Noel began cycling every day during lockdown and set himself the challenge of completing the incredible distance before 21st June – the original end date of Covid restrictions.

Noel with the Trinidad and Tobago flag with daughter Jo after the challenge
Noel with the Trinidad and Tobago flag with daughter Jo after the challenge

He said: “People have asked me how I managed go out cycling every day whatever the weather. My view is that Jo and Matilda don’t get a break – they are battling cancer every single day and I wanted to do this challenge alongside them.”

As reported in the A&T, Jo has been living with metastatic breast cancer since her diagnosis in 2015, with operations, radiotherapy and constant chemotherapy.

Then in June 2020, Jo and husband Christian’s oldest daughter Matilda was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia just four days before her 11th birthday. Within days she began an intense course of chemotherapy.

The family motto is “Rivron strong” and together they decided to raise money for Oakhaven Hospice, the Piam Brown Children’s Cancer Ward at Southampton General Hospital and a number of other children’s cancer charities.

Noel, a retired British Airways pilot, said: “Originally the challenge was to cover 8,600 miles (the distance from the UK to Trinidad and back) but then I calculated if I was flying from Bournemouth airport to the Trinidad International Airport in Port of Spain I needed to add around another 30 miles for each leg.”

He added a further 30 miles for the distance from his home to Bournemouth airport and back again.

Altogether Noel covered 8,726 miles by covering a minimum of 120 miles a week. He completed the final stretch on Sunday with daughter Nicky before being joined by Jo’s husband Christian and granddaughters Matilda and Amelie to cross the finish line.

The Rivron strong fundraising challenge page has so far raised just over £18,000 which will also benefit the Little Princess Trust, Supershoes, CLIC Sargent, Maggie’s Centre, Flight Like A Kid and Wessex Cancer Trust.

Noel said: “It’s a pretty strange feeling to be finished – I’ve been cycling every day for 15 months. Oakhaven are launching a Round the World in 80 Days challenge this summer so I’m planning to pledge to cycle 1,000 miles.”

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/rivronstrong

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