Royston rider cycles Tanzania to help Crohn’s suffering nephew

Mark was proud as punch to reach the finish line

Mark was proud as punch to reach the finish line - Credit: Archant

A Royston man has cycled through 230 miles of soft mud, sand and rock in Africa to raise money for a hospital department which supports his ill nephew.

Mark was welcomed by locals during the exhausting cycle

Mark was welcomed by locals during the exhausting cycle - Credit: Archant

Mark Hagger returned home on Sunday after spending 4½ days cycling across Tanzania in temperatures of up to 32° C.

The 51-year-old took on the challenge in aid of the gastroenterology department at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, where his 15-year-old nephew Jamie Penn has received treatment for Crohn’s disease.

Jamie has had the condition for five years – which causes diarrhoea and abdominal pain – but is symptom free after having major surgery.

Half of Crohn’s sufferers will require surgery at some point for the disease, which currently has no cure and if not treated can lead to bowel cancer.

The cycling gang before they set off

The cycling gang before they set off - Credit: Archant


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Mark, who works as a sales director at Cambridge Vibration Maintenance in Melbourn, said: “For any kid to have the disease at Jamie’s age is not very fun and hopefully one day he can have it reversed.

“There’s a lot of children who suffer from it and so I thought I’d do my bit to make it a bit easier for them.

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“It was a very tough challenge, much tougher than I expected. At points I was going up 5km hills, it was never ending.

“I did question at times if I could do it, but you’ve got to grit your teeth and keep going.”

Mark has raised £2,500 for the gastroenterology department so far.

To make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/childhoodresearchintocrohns or call his sister Elaine Penn on 07962 122206.

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