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24 hours in the saddle

May 11, 2022

Ian in the saddle for 24-hour London to Paris charity challenge

Ian Playford, Chairman at Kingsbridge Estates, is training to cycle 300 km from London to Paris in just 24 hours to help fund treatment for a devastating muscle-wasting disease that affects young children.

Ian, 54, will be among 160 riders pedalling from Herne Hill Velodrome in South-East London to Newhaven, crossing the Channel by ferry and then getting back in the saddle to cycle from Dieppe to the Eiffel Tower in support of the charity Duchenne UK. The event is on 10th June.

Riders in the event, called the Duchenne Dash, pay for all their own travel and expenses, so every penny raised goes to help children and families affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

Ian explains: “There is currently no cure for DMD, which affects mostly boys and causes all the muscles in the body, including the heart and lungs, to gradually weaken. It is a devastating condition but the number of children who are diagnosed with it is relatively small, and so the research and clinical trials to find treatments are carried out through the charity, set up by mothers of affected children 10 years ago.

“Successful treatments are getting closer, but it really is a race against time for the children and their families.

”This will be the second time Ian has tackled the Duchenne Dash, and he is hoping for kinder weather than he experienced during his first attempt in 2019, when it poured with rain for hours after riders set off from Dieppe.

Colleagues at Kingsbridge Estates have kickstarted Ian’s fundraising with a £1,000 donation towards his £6,000 target.

Ian was introduced to the event by a local friend. “I wanted to do something for a charity that involved getting myself fit – I’m the other side of 50 and at the time I didn’t even ride a bike,” he said.

“It was a steep learning curve to get in shape! The event is a very emotional day supporting a charity that has a real family feel about it. It’s a privilege to ride alongside mums and dads who are not only coping with the physical and mental challenge but are determined to see it to the end to fund research that could change the lives of their own children and those of the future.”

To support Ian, visit

Find out more about Duchenne UK at