Lisburn man celebrates his 60th birthday by cycling 100 miles in aid of Diabetes UK

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Charlie Hendron, from Lisburn, is set to take on a mammoth challenge this month in support of Diabetes UK.

On June 17, Charlie will be getting into gear and cycling a 100-mile lap around Lough Neagh. He will also be celebrating his 60th birthday and 12th year completing the challenge.

"While it is such a significant challenge, it’s not my first lap and certainly won’t be my last,” said Charlie.

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"This concept all started quite some time ago as a way for me to support my wife’s line dancing class, Brookmount Dance Ranch, in their endeavour to raise funds for local charities.

Lisburn man Charlie Hendron is cycling 100 miles around Lough Neagh to raise money for Diabetes UK. Pic credit:  Diabetes UKLisburn man Charlie Hendron is cycling 100 miles around Lough Neagh to raise money for Diabetes UK. Pic credit:  Diabetes UK
Lisburn man Charlie Hendron is cycling 100 miles around Lough Neagh to raise money for Diabetes UK. Pic credit: Diabetes UK

"This is my first time back at the challenge since Covid, and it is made all the more special by the fact that it also happens to be my 60th birthday.”

Charlie supports a different charity each year, raising as much as possible through various events.

"My wife and I like to support a new charity each year through her line dance class, and this year, Diabetes UK seemed like a great fit,” Charie continued.

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"Within each year we try to raise money through our social nights, table quizzes, line dance demonstrations etc. Previously, my wife even took on a skydive for Air Ambulance, despite having such a fear of heights.

"Whilst I don’t have diabetes myself, I know it can be such a debilitating illness and I’ve learnt a lot from my friends who have the condition themselves. This year I’m really driven to do this in support of them and all in our local area who have experience of the condition.”

Despite classing himself as ‘not a cyclist’ Charlie has been training hard for this challenge.

"In advance, I train by doing a hilly 20 or 40-mile cycle when I get time, however, I also pilot tandems most Saturdays for partially sighted and blind people through a charity called Lisburn Outlook.

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"The Lough can be completed in a few less miles but there’s just something about completing 100 miles that is quite a milestone.

"I must say, I’m usually digging deep for the last 20-30 miles and it’s then that sponsorship and community support that really see me through to the end.”

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Northern Ireland Interim National Director, Roxanne Small, said: “We’re really grateful for Charlie’s support as he takes on this mammoth challenge in aid of Diabetes UK.

"The passion and commitment he has demonstrated in helping a range of charities over the last 12 years is truly inspirational and highly commendable.

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"When people take on challenges like these, it goes such a long way in increasing awareness and support of diabetes, which unfortunately impacts almost 115,000 people across Northern Ireland.

"In our work, we see first-hand how it is an incredibly tough and relentless condition that can have a huge impact on a person’s life – therefore, it is vitally important that people are aware of the resources and support available to help manage their health and wellbeing.

"We wish Charlie the best of luck as he takes on his 100-mile cycle and encourage everyone to cheer him on if you see him out and about on your travels!”