My special guest today is someone I have known for many years; a business man, a guy who rises to a challenge and who was the inspiration for my character, Danny Bond in my debut novel, Magnolia House. Please welcome Stephen Muggridge.
Delighted to have you here Steve, please make yourself comfortable and help yourself to a drink. As great as it would be for us to talk about your company, Woodlands in Redhill and of course, Danny from Magnolia House, I think we should keep your visit to talking about the amazing challenge you have just completed.
“Thanks Pauline, I still smile when I think of Danny Bond and in the office the name is still banded around. “
Last weekend it was “On your bike” literally as you peddled from Redhill, Surrey to Paris France. Tell us about the challenge.
It was organised by the YMCA here in the town and you had the option of a 3, 2 or 1 day cycle. The route covered 175 miles of quiet countryside starting at YMCA East Surrey in Redhill and finishing at the Eiffel Tower, Paris via Newhaven and Gournay en Bray. We took the 2 day event because we have never done anything like this before and wanted to be certain we would finish alive!
It sounds pretty gruelling, what made you do it?
It all started back in March when my wife turned 50, she felt it was an important mile stone in her life and made up her mind that she wanted to do a challenge that we both could be involved in. I purchased a road bike for my wife for her birthday, I already had a bike which I had bought for my 50th a couple of years ago which had hardly been used. With both of us now owning bikes, I had no option but to start cycling. We heard about the Redhill to Paris event which also offered an opportunity to raise money for a good local charity so it was agreed we would take part.
What training did you have to do?
We signed up with the YMCA training plan and on Tuesday evenings we would cycle approximately 30 miles and then again at the weekends which generally involved 30 to 40 mile each day. It was tough at first, well it was tough all the time, but we kept going.
Who else joined you on the long ride?
There were several people who had also signed up for the event who we did not know, but got to know well over the 2 days. In our personal group, there was me, my wife and my wife’s best friend, Liz. Sadly, Liz lost her husband earlier this year and we invited her along with us. She was amazing and I think we looked like the three musketeers on our chargers, but without the razzmatazz!
What was the low point of the journey?
For me it was the morning we set off. Due to a very painful shoulder injury, I didn’t think I would be able to cycle on the morning. Then I thought of our friend who was grieving and felt if Liz could do it after what she has been through then I could cope with a bit of pain. And despite the terrible hour of having to get up at 3am on the first morning with little or no sleep, I got ready.
What was the high point?
Arriving at the Eiffel Tower. It was an amazing exhilarating feeling. We had done it! I’ll be honest there were times when I wondered if we would, but the camaraderie within the groups was amazing. We all helped each other to keep going especially on the hills and encouraged each other to keep going.
You were also collected a lot of money through sponsorship
We did and a huge thanks to everyone who sponsored us. Our target was to raise £500 each, so for me and my wife it meant we had to raise £1,000 and so far we have reached £1,150! All the money raised will be used to create a brand new, disability sports, fitness and wellbeing facility, designed to inspire and support people of all ages and ability to be more active and healthy.
That would be great. Thank you. Anyone can add a donation by visiting the following link http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MandyMuggridge
And, finally would you do it again?
Yes, we would, but my preference would be to do another country of a different challenge. So for now we’ll not be hanging up our cycle clips just yet!
A HUGE congratulations to you all and I am sure Danny Bond would be proud too!