Exmouth pensioner’s French cycle challenge raises funds for rotary shelterbox

PUBLISHED: 17:00 02 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:20 03 December 2017

Bill Mackie (centre) presenting a cheque for funds raised after a near 400-mile cycle challenge.

Bill Mackie (centre) presenting a cheque for funds raised after a near 400-mile cycle challenge.


Bill Mackie, 75, who cycled nearly 400 miles from Roscoff to Paris, presented a cheque for £550 to the Rotary Club of Exmouth and District.

An Exmouth pensioner who braved a near 400-mile cycle challenge has raised vital funds for Caribbean families affected by hurricanes.

Armed with just a second-hand bike, a clarinet and a fiddle, 75-year-old Bill Mackie cycled from Roscoff in northern France to Paris over the course of six days.

The challenge raised £550 for the Rotary Club of Exmouth and District. That money will be used to buy a Shelterbox for families in the hurricane-torn Caribbean.

Dressed in the shorts, wellies and a hi-viz jacket he wore during the challenge, Bill visited one of the rotary club’s recent lunches to present to cheque.

Frank Hart-Venn, honorary secretary of the Rotary Club of Exmouth and District said: “With a grin on his face, Bill said he hoped to raise more by a return journey but was curtailed by holiday plans.

“This meant catching a train and riding an escalator at the station with his cycle and musical accoutrements.

“The most eventful part of the journey it seems as he became partially jammed, in the escalator, fell backward with bike on top of him to the delight of onlookers.

“On reaching the top he shot from the top like a cork out of a bottle of fizz.”

Bill, who was diagnosed with heart problems last year, had originally decided to take on the challenge as way of testing whether it could stand up to a physical challenge.

Previously Bill has cycled to the Pyrenees Mountains prior to his diagnosis.

After a chance meeting with rotary club members in Exmouth town centre, Bill decided to use the challenge as a way to raise money for the hurricane victims.

He completed the ride solo despite what he called ‘jabbing pains’ over the steeper parts of the route.

President Linda of the Rotary Club of Exmouth and District and past president of Exmouth Raleigh Rotary Club Jan Eamer received the donation and thanked Bill for his efforts to do good in the world.

ShelterBox aims to provide aim and care for those who have been left homeless by natural disasters.

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