A father-of-three has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity after completing a marathon cycle ride through New Zealand.
Stuart Bayne, of Haverhill, climbed more than 14,000 metres during his epic 1,309-mile journey from Bluff at the southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island to Cape Reinga, in the most northern-part of the country.
The 53-year-old’s journey was made even tougher when he was forced to alter his route after two major earthquakes struck north of Christchurch closing some of the roads he had planned to use.
But raising more than £30,000 – £23,662 for the Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) in the UK and £6,689 for its New Zealand counterpart – made it all worth while for the NGK Spark Plugs (UK) sales manager.
Mr Bayne – whose wife, Ruth, is originally from New Zealand and whose daughter, Kirsty, has Down’s Syndrome – said he was ‘extremely grateful’ for the level of support he had received.
As well as his major sponsors NGK UK and NGK Europe and Australia, this included many of the company’s customers, Cobra Garden Machinery and Key Skills Recruitment in New Zealand.
He said: “I have been overwhelmed by the level of support I have received from everyone and would like to thank all those who have donated to the DSA.”
In 2015, Mr Bayne raised more than £17,000 for the DSA by completing a 683-mile cycle ride through five countries in Europe, an experience he says helped him in his New Zealand endeavours.
He said: “Fortunately all the hard work I put in during my preparation paid dividends. It was hard work, but I knew that if I dug in deep I would be ok as long as my body and my bike could keep going.
“I had practised in hilly terrain in Derbyshire so I knew how to handle the climbs and really didn’t have too many problems.
“However, I would advise anyone planning a similar thing to put in the hard work in training beforehand, if not they would have no chance of being successful.”
Marko Wowczyna, automotive director for NGK (UK), said: “On behalf of everyone at NGK I would like to thank all our customers who have supported Stuart. We have been raising funds for the DSA at various events all over the country and have received fantastic backing.
“I would also like to pay tribute to Stuart himself for surpassing his previous incredible achievement.”
Find out more about the charity at www.downs-syndrome.org.uk.