Cycling to beat cancer

By DAISY SAMPSON [email protected]

When John Shell’s mother Irene died from breast cancer in 2007, the 39 year old, year 9 manager from Biddick Sports College in Washington, in the north east of England, decided to get on his bike and start to raise money for the Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity.

John, who first came to the Algarve in 1987 on a holiday with his mother Irene and his father Jacky, told the Algarve Resident: “My parents were considering moving to the Algarve but Mom found out that she had breast cancer in 1986 so that put paid to that. However, we all continued to holiday in Carvoeiro.”

On December 20, John will be setting off an a journey covering the length of Portugal, riding from Carvoeiro in the south up to Vila Nova de Cerveira in the north, a distance of more than 900 kilometres.

This is not the first time that John has set out on endurance bike rides.

“Last year I cycled from Ayamonte in Spain to Sagres in 10 hours for the charity and I managed to raise more than €1,700. Just the other week I decided to cycle 138 miles from my house to Edinburgh. I set off at midnight and got there at 7.30am!” he said.

His latest journey is expected to take six days, with John covering around 100 miles each day: “I have no support on the journey at all and should be in Vila Nova de Cerveira in six days, depending on the weather.

“I will hopefully be in Porto for Christmas or, if I am blessed with a tail wind and good fortune, I could be at the finish line early,” he added.

Already John has received a £500 donation from the international law firm Eversheds, with other friends and family adding to the total.

For further information about the journey or to make a donation please visit