The Countess of Wessex says she feels “amazingly well” after cycling 450 miles across Britain, from Edinburgh to Buckingham Palace.
Sophie Countess of Wessex raised £180,000 for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, and encouraging people to take on Diamond or once in a lifetime challenges. After six days of cycling, Sophie rolled in to Buckingham Palace yesterday.
The money raised will help disadvantaged children to take part in their own challenges, giving them valuable life skills and confidence, and a “leg up in a world where getting ahead can be difficult”.
The Countess said: “Six months ago I thought I was probably going to wobble my way across the end line, but if you told me that I’d feel like this after six and a half days of cycling I would never have believed you. I feel fantastic.”
There was a brief chain malfunction at 30 miles, and a lot of cake along the way, the Duchess hit 45mph on one Northumbrian descent, averaging 75 miles per day.
On day three one of her co-riders gave her a helping hand up one incline as she struggled to turn the pedals, as she describes it: “the very athletic Jamie managed to uncleat one of his feet and bunny-hopped alongside me giving me a huge shove which gave me enough momentum to take me up the rise.”
Dame Sarah Storey appeared on a matching Boardman bike to cycle the start of the final leg of the Countess’ ride yesterday.
The Countess said of the awards effect on young people’s lives: “It gives them a definite leg up in a world where getting ahead can be difficult and many businesses are recognising the DoE as the most important non-academic qualification for a young person to have on their CV. For those for whom life hasn’t dealt the kindest of cards it represents a real opportunity to turn things around and in many cases it has even saved lives. How it achieves this is simple, the young people are shown the way, but every achievement is their own, therefore they own the outcome.”