A 62-year-old from Oxfordshire is embarking on a sponsored cycle this month to raise money for a local animal sanctuary, all the while inspiring under-represented groups to engage in physical activity.
Gordon, who has a learning disability, was once an avid gym-goer, cycling his way to an improved level of fitness. However, when the pandemic began in 2020 and gym doors closed across the country, Gordon, like many, felt lost without the familiar hum of the exercise bike and the camaraderie of fellow fitness enthusiasts.
Fortunately, Gordon heard about the UKRI funded FitBees project, a programme that strives to engage under-represented groups in physical activity, through learning disability charity Hft. The team recognised that Gordon was one of the 40% of individuals aged over 55 who face inactivity, a challenge that FitBees seeks to address by combining technology, motivation and community connections.
Inspired by FitBees’ community-driven approach, Gordon’s motivation for exercise was restored and the certificates adorning his bedroom walls became not just accolades but symbols of triumph over the doubts he once had around exercise.
What sets Gordon’s journey apart is his profound motivation, rooted in a genuine desire to help others. His love of animals, especially dogs, cats and rabbits, became the driving force behind every pedal stroke. He saw an opportunity to not just transform his own life but to contribute to the well-being of the animals he adores so much, by embarking on a sponsored cycle for the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary.
This January, Gordon has committed to cycling one hour every day (plus a bonus hour on his birthday), totalling an impressive 32 hours, to raise money for the charity. His motivation remains unwavering, rooted in the joy of helping animals find their forever homes and inspiring others to overcome barriers to physical activity.
Iain Atkin, Sanctuary Manager at the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary, explains how Gordon’s fundraising efforts will support the sanctuary. He said:
“We are delighted that Gordon has chosen to fundraise for our charity. Over 500 dogs, cats and rabbits have found their forever homes through us in the past year but demand for our resources is now as high as ever.
“Gordon will be helping so many animals with the funds going directly towards our animal care costs. We are sincerely grateful for his considerable efforts and wish him the very best.”
Ben Williams, FitBees Project Co-ordinator at Hft, added:
“Pedalling with a purpose, Gordon proves that sometimes the most profound transformations begin with a single, hesitant push of the pedal.”
Gordon is currently on target and says he is ‘feeling strong’ about completing the challenge.
To support Gordon’s journey and sponsor him on his way, please visit his GoFundMe page here.