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Danny Ackerman raises £15,000 for Hospice of St Francis
A Radlett man has undergone the ultimate test of endurance after cycling from Assisi in Italy to Berkhamsted to raise cash for charity.
Danny Ackerman, of Oakridge Avenue, began the incredible feat on June 10, managing to complete the challenge on June 24.
His aim was to raise cash for the Hospice of St Francis based in Berkhamsted and thanks to his efforts and those of his fellow cyclist Jason St Hill, they managed to collect a whopping £15,500.
The 55-year-old said: "The event was organised by my friend Jason St Hill. His stepdaughter Stephanie Pratt passed away from bowel cancer in June last year.
"She spent her last days at the Hospice of St. Francis in the wonderful care of the nurses and staff at the hospice.
"Their dedication and consideration made Stephanie as comfortable as possible and the support and kindness from the staff was invaluable.
"To help support the amazing work of the hospice, as it relies on charitable donations, we both decided to take part in the ride."
On June 10, the duo undertook the epic ride from the Basilica of St Francis atop the hill in Assisi to the Hospice of St Francis, situated on a slightly smaller hill in Berkhamsted.
And by managing to finish on June 24, the pair marked the anniversary of Stephanie’s death. Mr Ackerman, who owns a toy business, said: "It was hard work, a 1,250-mile bike ride isn’t easy. We were fortunate with the weather, it had been dreadful the week before we set off, but we saw no rain until we reached London.
"There were few hairy moments, everything ran like clockwork. One difficulty we encountered was on the third day, when we were cycling through Italy. We thought it would be a nice quiet road - that’s what our map said.
"But what we found was that it was an industrial road, with lorries and lots of traffic, so that was pretty scary, trying to avoid them.
"When we were travelling through the Alps we were fine, but unfortunately the car our wives were in broke down, so we ended up having an extra night in the mountatins.
"But bar that, nothing serious happened and our friendship has remained intact.
"There were certain periods were you felt a bit drained, but you have to lift yourself up.
"We were doing 100 miles through the course of a day, so you have to keep going, especially when your incentive is that you’re helping such a good cause."
When Mr Ackerman and Mr St Hill arrived in Portsmouth, they were greeted by 30 friends who undertook the final leg of the ride to the hospice.
Once there they were rode through an archway of green, white and red balloons, while hospice staff, family and friends celebrated their achievements with a party.
Mr Ackerman said: "It was a fantastic ride, the scenery was breathtaking.
"France’s roads are also considerably better than ours, we never once worried about potholes and drivers were a lot more respectful of cyclists.
"As for how much we raised, we’re really chuffed, particularly as people and businesses don’t have much to spare these days."
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