Please do click on the Just Giving links below and donate toward the "O'Connell Challenge"
This is the Just Giving website for donations toward the British Heart Foundation
This is the Just Giving Website for donations to the Epilepsy Society
A week before the Olympic Flame set off from the depths of Cornwall for its journey around the British Isles, three cyclists from Fordingbridge blazed a trail of glory of their own - conquering the O’Connell Challenge from Land’s End to John O’Groats in just eight days.
Locals in Scotland spoke in awe of the achievement reckoning the average time for such a ride was normally 11-12 days. It was described as a “remarkable feat”.
The three - Paul O’Connell, 32, a sports physiotherapist at the Nuffield Hospital Group, Chris Langford, 41, an Executive at HSBC, and Nigel Lunt, 58, a director of South Coast Construction Ltd, covered 876 miles on their epic journey and are set to raise around £15,000 for the British Heart Foundation and the Epilepsy Society.
All are Vice-Presidents of Fordingbridge Rugby Club. The event was dedicated to the memory of Paul’s father, Tony O’Connell, the founder and late President of Fordingbridge RFC, who died of a heart attack two years ago, and Paul’s sister Amy, who passed away a year later.
The new President of Fordingbridge RFC, John Mouland, along with two other club stalwarts, Steve Godden and Nick Dymott, all keen cyclists, travelled North to lend active support in the closing stages of the ride. One of the sponsors Dave Stone, of Christchurch Domestic Appliances, made the near 1400 mile return drive from the New Forest to John O’Groats for the final day.
Meanwhile Nigel Lunt’s sister, Bev, who lives in New York, watched the start in Land’s End the previous Sunday, went home to work in midweek, then flew back across the Atlantic again on Saturday night with her husband Jack to see the finish.
Facing horrendous weather at times, headwinds and steep hills, let alone the traffic, the three cyclists had to battle the elements all the way, but all three agreed that a highlight was crossing the old Severn Bridge from England into Wales during their longest day 132 miles from Okehampton to Tintern, the toughest climb was Scafell in the Lake District while the fastest speed recorded was by Chris Langford who came down Glencoe at 46mph.
Afterwards an emotional Paul O’Connell thanked the many who have sponsored the Challenge and paid tribute to all involved but “our biggest thanks must go to Mum Christine and my wife Louise for driving our Abacus support motorhome throughout the journey, feeding and watering us, cheering us on and keeping our spirits high. You are both amazing! We miss Dad and Amy very much but we hope we have made them very proud”.
The “challenge” was a cycle from Lands End to John-O-Groats in 8 days –Paul, Chris and Nigel will be individually cycling every metre of the 876 miles. Our back up support team was Christine and Louise O’Connell.
This trip was fully self funded and 100% of every penny raised will be donated to the British Heart Foundation and the Epilepsy Society.
We appreciate that there are lots of charities and sponsored events throughout the year, however Paul, Chris and Nigel would very much appreciate your financial support. Tony was President and a founder member of Fordingbridge Rugby Club and as such holds a very special place in all of our hearts. Not only did the O’Connell family have the tragedy of Tony’s untimely death to deal with but a year later Tony and Christine’s daughter Amy also sadly passed away.
Press Release - January 2012
Leading members of Fordingbridge Rugby Club have launched two major endurance fund-raising events. The first is aimed at setting what might well become a Guinness World record for a non-stop run over the weekend of Feb24-26, and the second is the O’Connell Challenge, a near 1000-mile cycle ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats from May 13-20.
Former club captain, Chris Langford, is spearheading the O’Connell Challenge along with club stalwart Nigel Lunt and Paul O’Connell, son of the former much-loved club president and founder , Tony, who died two years ago.
The three cyclists plan to be in the saddle for around 9/10 hours of the eight days pedaling every inch of their 960-mile route from Land’s End to John O’Groats. The objective is to raise money for the British Heart Foundation, and the Epilepsy Society in memory of Amy, Tony’s daughter, who sadly also passed away a year after her father.
An O’Connell Memorial Challenge Rugby match, as well as an “Auction of Promises” are scheduled for Saturday March 17, quite a day for the Fordingbridge Club as it is the afternoon of the Hampshire Bowl semi-final against Ellingham & Ringwood.
Chris, Paul and Nigel have set up “Just Giving” sites for donations and for further information Chris can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or on 07957 936902.
Please dig deep and pledge your sponsorship – Every penny raised will help raise funds towards these very special causes in memory of 2 very special people.
Paul: 077895 40846 email: paul.O’Connell@nuffieldhealth.com
Chris: 07957 936902 email: Christopher.firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Nigel: 07831 101882 email: firstname.lastname@example.org