Two weeks ago on Saturday 22nd August, local Biggin Hill resident, Paul Clark took on an incredible 24-hour cycling challenge. He succeeded in conquering the equivalent of climbing to the summit of Mount Everest 8,848m! Not only that, his fundraising effort climbed to the same dizzy heights and reached just short of a staggering £19,000 for local charity, The Chartwell Cancer Trust.

Not in Paul’s, nor the charity’s wildest dreams, did we imagine the incredible level of support he was to receive, which was so richly deserved. Paul’s challenge was to cycle up and down one of Biggin Hill’s steepest hills, which has a gradient of 12% equal to 49m vertical and is 450 metres long. Paul, is a keen and experienced cyclist and had put in many long hours of training prior to the event.

However, strength, stamina and endurance were most definitely the orders of the day! Paul’s immense challenge began at midday on the Saturday. Deputy Mayor Cllr Stephen Wells, joined by The Chartwell Cancer Trust Team, Councillors Melanie Stevens and Julian Bennington along with friends and family, did the honour of declaring the event officially open.

Paul cycled in 1hr 45min stints allowing a quick break to refuel and to change his kit to avoid any chafing! He was assisted by his fabulous ‘domestics team’ at base camp, (the doctor’s surgery cark park), John Nichols and Stuart Strutton, who looked after him for the entire duration.

Friends and families rallied round at the top and bottom of Stock Hill shaking buckets for many hours as he continued to cycle up and down the steep hill. Motorists and passers-by constantly cheered, hooted and applauded and generously donated into our buckets. The local Domino’s dropped in free pizzas and refreshments to keep him and the ‘domestics’ team’ going through the night, and two cheeky dinosaurs made a very special appearance in the early hours of Sunday morning which helped to get Paul through the toughest time of the challenge.

At 5.20am, Paul had achieved his goal by reaching the summit! He had cycled up Stock Hill an incredible 181 times. If that wasn’t enough (it never is for Paul), he achieved his second goal at 10.30am, a descent into the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean 11,034m, by riding up Stock Hill 226 times!

And he still kept going……….
Over the 24 hours, Paul cycled 135miles (216km), climbed 7.2 miles (11,621m), burnt 11,164 calories and sweated 11Litres! He rode up Stock Hill a grand total of 237 times.

Paul said “The last few times I cycled up Stock Hill felt like a dream. I was blown away by the local community, family and friends. When I came to a stop at midday on Sunday to such a wonderful community spirit and party atmosphere, it felt truly amazing. Thank you to everyone who supported me. Those 24hrs will live with me for the rest of my life.”

Paul had set himself a goal to raise £2,500. This was completely blown out of the park. His online fundraising alone kept rising and reached an incredible £12,000.

Added to this, was the amazing generosity of the motorists and passers-by. And, with the help of our wonderful bucket collectors and good friends on the megaphone for hours on end, he raised a further whopping £7,000 to make a grand fundraising total just short of £19,000!

Thank you to everyone who supported Paul and donated to our cause. Also thank you to the Mayor’s Office, Bromley, Biggin Hill Councillors, Melanie Stevens and Julian Bennington, The Stock Hill Medical Centre – for the use of their car park, Graham and TN16, Howdens South, Croydon, Should be Howdens South Croydon, Domino’s Pizza in Biggin Hill, Biggin Hill Sports & Social Club, Kelsey Park Lodge 5701, ST Brown Electrical, Westerham Cycling club, Meat in Place, Welling, H Lilleys & Co, On the Beach, Life of the Parties, and Tea’s Company.

Natalie Reilly from The Chartwell Cancer Trust said: “We have all felt the impact of the coronavirus crisis and it has been such a difficult time for Cancer sufferers. We are doing what we can to serve our local communities and COVID-19 has reinforced the importance of our mission and strengthened our resolve to support our oncology networks through everything we do. Paul is our champion of champion’s! This is not the first challenge he has undertaken for Chartwell but most definitely the most daring, brave and craziest to date. We are eternally grateful to him for his continued commitment to our charity”.

It’s not too late to support Paul and his challenge by visiting: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PaulClark23