Shoreham diabetic completes 500-mile charity cycle challenge, with girlfriend’s support

Ben Arnett at the Blue Sky office in Portslade, the second of his eight stops on the charity ride
Ben Arnett at the Blue Sky office in Portslade, the second of his eight stops on the charity ride

Cyclist Ben Arnett has pushed himself to the limit for the charity challenge of a lifetime.

Supported by his girlfriend Sophie Bright, Ben set himself a target of covering around 500 miles in five days to raise money for Diabetes UK.

Ben Arnett with girlfriend Sophie Bright, who supported him on the ride

Ben Arnett with girlfriend Sophie Bright, who supported him on the ride

He wholeheartedly supports the charity, as he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 13.

Ben said: “I’m not quite sure what I was thinking when I came up with this idea but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Having been type one diabetic for around half of my life and not really challenged myself to any huge extent in my 26 years on this planet, I thought I’d do something that should leave me a broken person by the end – all for a good cause.

“The charity’s ultimate vision is a world where diabetes can do no harm. Let’s face it, being diabetic is a bit of a pain in the backside that I, and every other diabetic, could do without.”

Supervising social worker Sophie travelled with him but by car, carrying supplies. She is raising money for Child’s i Foundation, a charity partner of Blue Sky Fostering, where she works.

She said: “We were truly overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness. It was a tough but amazing week and it was all very much worth it after receiving donations for both charities, Child’s I Foundation and Diabetes UK.”

The couple, who live in Shoreham, visited all eight of the company’s offices, starting in Chatham last Monday and continuing to Portslade, Swanwick, Romsey, Ringwood, Ivybridge, Bristol and Basingstoke.

The longest day of cycling was the 135-mile journey from Ringwood in Hampshire to Ivybridge in Devon.

The epic journey finished on Friday at Blue Sky’s Basingstoke office, where the couple were greeted by family, friends and many of the agency’s staff and fostering families.

The Child’s i Foundation helps place abandoned children in Uganda with fostering families, supported yearly by Blue Sky Fostering.

Sophie said: “Child’s i Foundation is an incredible organisation who are clearly passionate about transforming the lives of abandoned children in Uganda. The money raised is used to make sure abandoned children in Uganda are cared for in loving families, not institutions.”

She supports foster carers and children in their care here in the UK and will be visiting Kampala later this month for three weeks to share her skills and knowledge with the foundation’s programme.

Sophie added: “The costs of my visit to Uganda are covered by Blue Sky, so the money raised will go straight to the charity in full.”

The couple wanted to split any money they raised between their two charities but were not able to do that on JustGiving so they set up two separate fundraising pages.

Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ben-arnett and www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sophie-bright04 for more information.

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