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Vicar goes extra 1000 miles for charity

PUBLISHED: 18:05 12 August 2008 | UPDATED: 07:35 01 August 2010

Peter Langford who plans to cycle from Land's End to John O'Groats.

Peter Langford who plans to cycle from Land's End to John O'Groats.

Most 75-year-olds are content to sit back, relax and enjoy their retirement but for one vicar from Beccles, the hard work has just begun.

Peter Langford, who retired to the town 10 years ago, will embark on his greatest challenge yet next month - all in the name of charity.

Most 75-year-olds are content to sit back, relax and enjoy their retirement but for one vicar from Beccles, the hard work has just begun.

Peter Langford, who retired to the town 10 years ago, will embark on his greatest challenge yet next month - all in the name of charity.

The pensioner plans to pedal from Land's End to John O'Groats - covering a distance of over 1,000 miles - to raise money for an education and outreach centre.

Mr Langford set up the Ringsfield Hall Trust Eco Study Centre with his late wife, Sally, in 1971 to offer accommodation to school children, church groups and families from urban areas to come and experience rural life.

More than 35 years on, the vicar believes the centre is better than ever but it is now in desperate need of maintenance work - replacing the gutters and rewiring the building - which could cost up to £18,000.

On September 2, Mr Langford will take the train to Penzance and will begin his mammoth journey to try to raise the money. Starting at Land's End he will cycle via the Severn Bridge, Manchester, Edinburgh and Inverness before finally reaching John O'Groats.

Although surprisingly sprightly for his age, the vicar does not intend to push himself too hard. He said: “As I'll be 75, I'm doing it in quite a geriatric fashion. There are only four days when I plan to do more than 60 miles and none when I plan to do more than 70. I hope to do the whole trip in just three weeks.”

His training has gone well, with several bike rides, including a 192-mile round trip to Cambridge, already behind him. He said: “I'm doing some long rides. I've also cycled to Cromer to stay for a couple of nights and a few years ago I went to Canterbury and back in a week which was 500 miles by the route I took.”

The pensioner has already booked the youth hostels and bed and breakfasts he will stay in along the way and is following a route recommended by the Cyclists Touring Club.

Mr Langford is still involved with Ringsfield Hall and helps out at St Michaels Church, Beccles, taking communion on a Thursday morning and making house visits. For the next two weeks he will be filling in at Ditchingham Convent - and will, of course, be cycling there.

The vicar is asking people to sponsor him per mile - just in case he cannot complete the trip - and has already sent forms out to friends and family.

Anyone who would like to sponsor Mr Langford can collect a form from the Gazette Book Shop in Beccles, call him on 01502 710034, or write to 20 Peddars Lane, Beccles, NR 34 9UE.

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