Great-grandfather in the saddle in family's Land's End to John O'Groats cycle


A north London great-grandfather is cycling on an electric bicycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats as part of a family charitable endeavour.

Norman Franklin - whose late relative of Rosalind Franklin contributed to the discovery of DNA - is joined on the trip by his three sons and the partners of two of them.

The family is setting out to raise £100,000 to donate to five charities, with Mr Franklin supporting the Prisoners’ Education Trust. Group members are matching donations pound-for-pound.

“There is an awful lot we can do for prisoners," Mr Franklin said. "This programme provides both vocational and non-vocational courses. Prisoners can do things like plumbing, or they can take A-levels, GCSEs and introductory Open University courses. Then when they leave prison they have qualifications."

He describes the 1,000-mile trip as his first “cycling holiday”.

His sons Andrew, Tom and Sam, plus the two partners, Caroline Elton and Anne Bulmer, are raising money for literacy charity Beanstalk, Migrant Offshore Aid Station, Justice First and A Way Out.

Speaking to the JC from Wells, in south-west England, Mr Franklin, 89, said he was looking forward to seeing the countryside in “a different way from driving in a car”.

“I probably am a bit on the old side to be cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats but I always like to rise to a challenge.  

“People have been fantastically generous with the fundraising. I am now really confident we are going to reach our target.

“Everyone says saddle sore is something you have to worry about on a ride of this length, but I am hoping your skin gets tougher as you get older.”

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