71-year-old south Norfolk man faces 180-mile bike ride over four days to raise funds for special schools

Terry Hickman Smith centre with the white helmet, Headteacher Karin Heap centre next to Terry, far r

Terry Hickman Smith centre with the white helmet, Headteacher Karin Heap centre next to Terry, far right governor Richard Lindner, other in cycling helmets his support team - Credit: Archant

A 180-mile bike ride over four days would be a challenge even for the keenest of cyclists.

But it was a feat which initially seemed almost impossible to Terry Hickman Smith – who hadn't ridden a bike in 50 years.

This week, the brave 71-year-old took on the gruelling challenge to raise funds for the 11 special schools across the county.

'It came to me a on a mad early morning that I might be able to raise money for all the special schools – I thought that maybe I could walk but realised that would take months, so I decided cycling might be a good way,' he added.

Lasting from Monday to Thursday, the journey took Mr Hickman Smith - who is a director at Lucas Hickman Smith architects in Wymondham - through Attleborough, Dereham, King's Lynn, Sheringham, Sidestrand, Caister on Sea and Norwich.

Although Mr Hickman Smith admitted that the 45 miles the team averaged each day were hard-going, he said the heart-warming welcome cheers from the children at each school made it worthwhile.

'We have had a massive positive response – the thanks that we are being given is absolutely amazing,' he added.

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The grandfather hopes that his efforts will be enough to boost the fundraising total to his £5,000 target, which will be used to fund summer activities for special schools.

Mr Hickman Smith, who lives in Forncett St Peter, said: 'I think it is important because the special schools summer schools are not funded by the government, so they have to raise larger some of money to put on anything extra-curriculur.

'It's really important for the children and parents to have some respite and something to do,' he said.

Karin Heap, headteacher of Chapel Road School, said that she was 'amazed and in awe' of the challenge.

'Personally having taken part in only one small part of the cycle ride, has allowed me to understand that this is really hard work.

'The community spirit and associated learning that this project has evoked across all the complex needs schools, is truly amazing. '

There are several ways to donate to Mr Hickman Smith's journey.

• By BACS to the Friends of Chapel Road School Account – Lloyds Bank, Sort Code 30 98 58 Account No. 00683908

• By cheque payable to Friends of Chapel Road School and sent to Chapel Road School, Chapel Road, Attleborough Norfolk NR17 2DS

• By cheque made out to the Rotary Club of Wymondham and sent to me at Chestnut Cottage, Long Stratton Road, Forncett St Peter, Norfolk NR16 1HT

Are you doing something unusual to raise funds for charity? Contact local.life@archant.co.uk