Stafford grandad, 85, completes 200-mile charity bike ride - with PICTURES and VIDEO

An inspirational grandad was given a hero's welcome as he arrived back to his home town of Stafford from a 200-mile charity bike ride.

Dick Venables, 85, set off from St Davids in Pembrokeshire on July 6 with a mission to cycle back to Stafford in a bid to raise money for the Pratigya Children's Shelter in India.

Backed by a small support team, Dick has completed the epic jaunt in stages and says that he is inspired to take on such an ambitious challenge simply by his love of cycling and the countryside.

Upon his arrival in Stafford's Market Square today, he was greeted by a cheering crowd including Mayor Aidan Godfrey and representatives from the Dalit Freedom Network, who help with funding for the children's shelter Dick hopes to raise £10,000 for.

After crossing the finish line, he said: "I am feeling great, it was hard work along the way but I had a great support team with me who I would like to thank for their efforts.

"I do this because I still enjoy it, I love the hills and the countryside views in Wales and Shropshire, plus it keeps me fit, I don't see any reason not to do it."

The end of the journey marks the second time in as many years he has made the trek, after completing it from Stafford to St Davids last year.

It wasn't an easy ride for Dick this time around as he injured his wrist earlier in the summer after falling off his bike.

However, he has raised over £3,000 so far, with more to come.

The Mayor of Stafford, councillor Aiden Godfrey, said he was pleased to welcome Dick back and spoke of his admiration for him.

He said: "It has been great to welcome Dick back today and give him the reception he deserves.

"This is a fabulous achievement which people half his age would struggle to match and he has done it two years in a row now.

"He has pushed himself to do great work for a noble cause and he has my full admiration."

The Dalit Freedom Network is a trafficing prevention organistion working with women and children from poor and marginalised communities in India.

The Pratigya Children's Shelter provides a safe place for young girls who are at risk of being forced into sexual exploitation in the southern Indian state of Telangana.

The shelter enables girls and young women to grow up in a caring environment with access to counselling, healthcare and an education.

Janet Carlton, a representative of the charity, said: "We are humbled and honoured by Dick's support and commitment to our cause and he is an inspiration to us all."

To donate to Dick's fundraising campaign, visit

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News