Retirement is just the start for former Nottingham professor

David James at Dunnet HeadA retired QMC professor has raised more than £4,000 for human rights charity ActionAid – after cycling from end to end of mainland Britain.


David James spent 17 days cycling from Lizard Point in Cornwall – the most southerly point of England – to Dunnet Head, the northern tip of Scotland, via Land’s End and John o’Groats.

The 66-year-old former professor of obstetrics said the ride, a journey of around 1,000 miles, was to show that life continues after retirement.

“I called my challenge ‘Britain on a bike and a pension’ to show it’s not the end of life as you know it after you retire,” said Prof James, of Widmerpool Road in Wysall.

“I decided to do a charity sponsored ride as it provides incentive, and ActionAid is a great charity which gives huge benefits to others.”

“It’s not the end of life as you know it after you retire”

Prof James, who in recent years has completed England’s coast to coast for Help for Heroes and Scotland’s coast to coast for UNICEF, said the support he received from family and friends was vital.

“It was the fact that people were supporting my ride with their money – it keeps you going,” the father-of-three said.

“My wife kept a diary each day and posted it on Facebook, and the support on there was immense. I read the comments on there at the end of each day and you realise the support is there.

“Relief has now been replaced by a growing sense of achievement, and my wife and I are now eyeing up the Avenue Verte from the London Eye to Notre Dame next year,” he added.


Prof James at John o’Groats

A support car accompanied Prof James for the duration of the ride, with his wife Charlotte driving for the first two weeks before friends took over.

Mrs James, a retired nurse, said: “I feel it was a little bit of a retirement crisis!

“He was amazing, very focused and doing it on your own is quite a challenge. I’m so proud of him. He likes to focus on things and what he does always benefits other people.

“He was anxious before he started because he had a nasty fall in training three weeks before he started, but he bounced back. It just made him all the more brave in my opinion,” the 62-year-old added.

ActionAid community fundraising manager Liz Grant said: “The work ActionAid carries out in tackling poverty in some of the poorest countries in the world is only made possible because of the efforts of people like Prof James.

“This is a fantastic achievement and has raised a huge amount of money! We would like to thank Prof James for putting himself and his legs to the test and will make sure the money is well spent.”

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