May 17, 2023
After four long days and 600km of pedalling, cyclists Jeremy Sharland and Paul Butler have returned from a round trip to Paris with more than £22,000 raised for the charity Duchenne UK.
Jez, Paul, and their colleague Ian Playford, all from Chichester-based property developer Kingsbridge Estates, took on the epic 24-hour Duchenne Dash London to Paris ride in aid of Duchenne UK, which helps fund treatment and research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a devastating muscle-wasting disease affecting young children.
Jez and Paul had pledged to ride all the way back to the Kingsbridge Estates offices at Tangmere if they reached their fundraising target of £24,000 – and with that total tantalisingly close once they reached the French capital, they decided to keep to their word.
Supporters dug deep and now the pair have arrived back in West Sussex with £22,000 raised to help fund vital research into a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
“It was a fantastic and rewarding trip in so many ways,” said Jez, Development Director at Kingsbridge Estates.“We had a number of challenges to overcome, from rain, border delays, and technical problems with our bike computers to hunger, a lack of sleep and avoiding crazy Paris motorists! However, there were some amazing moments, like riding into Paris escorted by motorcycle outriders – it felt like we were in the Tour de France."
"Being part of a peloton of 160 riders on the Champs Elysees was an unforgettable experience, and a gala dinner on the Saturday night, hosted by Krishan Guru-Murthy, who helped set up the Duchenne Dash, was a great reminder of the reasons why we were putting ourselves through it.”
Paul, Chief Financial Officer at Kingsbridge Estates, added: “We are all keen cyclists, but this was a very long way and a huge challenge.“
This was Ian’s third Duchenne Dash ride for Duchenne UK, and we are grateful to him for getting us involved – he thought that we were mad to make the return trip and he was probably right! However, it was all worth it to raise such a fantastic amount. The three of us are grateful to every business and individual who has sponsored us for the event this year, which overall has raised an incredible £600,000 so far for a fantastic cause. It was hugely inspiring to hear about the achievements of the charity which was set up by two parents of boys with DMD, Emily Reuben and Alex Johnson, as we rode to Paris and it demonstrates what can be achieved.”
Kingsbridge Estates Chairman Ian said: “Once again the Duchenne Dash was an epic and unforgettable challenge, and I am proud to have played my part for a third time.“ I could hardly believe it when Jez and Paul announced they planned to ride back again – and proud that by doing so they have helped us smash our stretch target. We all hope the amounts raised will eventually find a cure for a cruel condition that is devastating for children and their families.”
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.
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.
There is still time to support Ian, Jeremy and Paul – visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kingsbridgeestatesteam to make a donation.
Find out more about Duchenne UK at www.duchenneuk.org
Day 1 – Friday, May 12th
Ian, Jez and Paul face their first unexpected challenge – train strikes mean they have to make their way to the start point at Herne Hill Velodrome by other means. They set off in pouring rain for the first leg – a damp 100km ride to Newhaven to meet the overnight ferry to Dieppe. The trio try – and mostly fail – to sleep on the floor before rolling off the ferry at 5am.
Day 2 – Saturday, May 13th
A delay at border control in Dieppe holds up the 160 riders in the cold and dark before the trio set off for the 200km ride to Paris. A long day culminates in a spectacular motorcycle-escorted ride down the Champs Elysees, with a finish at the Eiffel Tower.
Riders are treated to a spectacular Gala Dinner next to the Eiffel Tower, hosted by the Channel 4 News Lead, Krishnan Guru-Murthy. By this point over £600,000 has been raised by riders taking on the Dash.
Day 3 – Sunday, May 14th
Jez and Paul are up early on Sunday morning to start the return trip. This time – without a motorcycle escort – it’s a more hair-raising experience getting through Paris, and repeated sat nav computer failures and a puncture at 20km in don’t help!
Most shops in France are closed on Sundays, so the pair realise they will have to survive largely on what they have packed with them (water, nuts and energy bars). A cold headwind challenges them all the way back to Dieppe, where upon arrival, they find that the only food available was packet sandwiches, crisps and fizzy drinks!
Day 4 – Monday, May 15th
An early morning call on the ferry at 4.30am signals the return to the UK at Newhaven where Jez and Paul discover that the only place open for an early breakfast is a 24-hour McDonald’s before the 100km ride back to Tangmere.Close to home they made sure they reached their total distance target of 600km with a tour of West Sussex villages before arriving at the Kingsbridge Estates offices at 1.30pm – exactly three days after they set out from Herne Hill.
To see a video gallery of Ian, Paul and Jez’s trip please click here