Stephen's amazing Penzance to Pendle Hill bike ride

A remarkable man, who has been blind from birth, joined two friends on a cycle ride from 'Penzance to Pendle Hill'.

Thursday, 26th May 2016, 7:34 am
Updated Thursday, 26th May 2016, 8:38 am
Stephen Cooper, Ian Jones and Clive McAffee on completion of their Penzance to Pendle Hill bike ride

Nelson man Stephen Cooper (65) was joined by friends Clive McAffee, from Laneshawbridge, and Ian Jones of Kendal, on the 450 mile bike ride which raised £750 for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Stephen, who tunes pianos for a living, said: “The three of us have done a lot of big bike rides before, but this time we thought it would be nice to do one for charity.

“I’ve had a guide dog since I was 18, and am now on my seventh guide dog, ‘Sam’, and I can honestly say they are a real lifeline.

“Sam, who is a golden retriever German shepherd cross, is one of the best I’ve had.

“Having a guide dog gives you total freedom. I can go shopping on my own, go on the train on my own. It really gives me the independence and confidence to go out without the help of other people.”

“I wanted to raise money for Guide Dogs to give other people the chance to have the same independence that I do.”

That independence, and confidence, has seen Stephen join his pals on epic cycles before, once riding from Marseille, France, and another time from Rome, Italy, to this country.

This time, the pals took just short of a week to complete their ride, which saw them stay in hotels along the route.

Stephen, who rode tandem with Ian, added: “We actually cycled from Land’s End to Nelson, but Penzance to Pendle Hill had a nice ring to it.

“The weather was pretty cold and blustery so it wasn’t the easiest ride but we enjoyed it. The Cornish Pasties certainly helped.”

Stephen, who trains at Pendle Wavelengths in Nelson, said the group would no doubt do a similar ride in the future.

“I really enjoy cycling, it’s the fastest I can move. I met Ian and Clive through cycling and I would definitely recommend the sport to anyone.”