DARING grandfather Colin Stuttard is cycling from Marsden to Malaga to raise funds for a cause close to his heart.
Mr Stuttard, 58, set off on Saturday to tackle the 2,000 mile trip from his home at The Green in Marsden to his holiday home in the mountains above Malaga.
He has already raised more than £9,000 in sponsorship, which will go to the Dame Vera Lynn Trust School in Ingfield, West Sussex.
The school teaches parents of children with disabilities and learning difficulties how to help their children develop.
Mr Stuttard’s three-year-old grandson Adam suffers from cerebral palsy and his mother, Deborah, attends tutorials at the school.
Mr Stuttard said: “The school helps parents to assist their children in learning to have some sort of independence.
“They run entirely on donations and it is difficult for them to do all the things they want to do.
“It is a fantastic school.”
On Saturday, Mr Stuttard set off to cycle the 250 miles to 39-year-old Deborah’s home in Purley, near London, with his 35-year-old son Damien for company.
Mr Stuttard said: “My son’s only ever ridden about 16 miles before so it’s been a challenge for him.
“As for me, I think if you can manage the first few hundred miles, you stand a chance of doing the rest.”
Mr Stuttard and Damien work together, running the family plumbing business Paramount Heating.
After Purley, he will cycle with his son-in-law Nigel and friends to Dover, where he will catch the ferry to France.
Mr Stuttard will then cycle through France to northern Spain over the Cantabrian mountains, to Madrid and finally to his holiday home near Malaga in Andalusia, southern Spain.
His wife Susan will be driving on ahead in the couple’s motorhome, so they can stop at campsites along the way.
He said: “Most of the time, I will do about 60 miles a day and that will only take her about an hour to drive, so she will have quite a nice, relaxing time!”
Mr Stuttard has only done one long-distance cycle ride before – 1,250 miles to Barcelona for a multiple sclerosis charity.
He said: “I was in my 40s and it took me 21 days. I think this will take me about 30 days.
“I am fatter and falling to pieces and it seems a crazy thing to do. But I’m going to give it my best shot.”
Mr Stuttard said he and his family are amazed by how much money they have raised since he announced his plans for the ride in February.
He said: “People have been very generous. We’ve only been raising funds a few months.
“It’s incredible. The money will make a big difference. It will pay for tuition for a family for a year.”
To sponsor Mr Stuttard, visit www.justgiving.com/colinstuttard
Average May temperature: 23°C.
Birthplace of: Artist Pablo Picasso, actor Antonio Banderas, golfer Miguel Ángel Jiménez.
Attractions: Gibralfaro Castle, Picasso Museum, harbour.
Average May temperature: 14°C.
Birthplace of: Poet Simon Armitage, blacksmith Enoch Taylor, who built the first automatic croppers.
Attractions: Standedge Tunnel, moors, Cuckoo Day.