Cyclist Riding to Every Lighthouse in UK to Raise Money for Terminal Illness Charity

Photo by Joël Vogt on Unsplash

A widower with a passion for cycling has set a challenge to ride to every lighthouse in mainland Britain to raise money for a charity founded by his late wife.

Matthew Sturgeon, 55, has raised thousands of pounds for the charity A Bit of a Break, which offers holidays to people living with terminal illnesses.

The architect from Ilkley, West Yorkshire, has now visited one hundred out of the 186 lighthouses on his list. He reached his milestone in North East Lincolnshire on Saturday at Killingholme South Low Lighthouse on the Humber Estuary.

A Bit of a Break was founded by Mr Sturgeon’s late wife Angela, who died from ovarian cancer in December 2016. After her diagnosis in 2011, she set completed several cycling challenges and raised more than £42,000 for charity before deciding to set up her own.

Mr Sturgeon said: “We always loved doing lots of outdoor stuff, so we started doing these long-distance rides.

“One of them, Angela did with a group of friends which went from my parents’ house in Bath to her parent’s house in Liverpool and raised more than £30,000 for Target Ovarian Cancer.

“Then we did one with her family, along the coast of Donegal, and Ange came up with this idea of A Bit of a Break, to work with owners of holiday properties to offer people a much-needed break away.

“A lot of people can’t plan holidays because they don’t know when they will be well enough, or when their treatment will be.”

The charity matches property owners who donate their vacant weeks with people who would like to take a break and also pays for the cleaning and administration fees.

Mr Sturgeon began his lighthouse project in 2019, and has completed more than half of his challenge over several trips away, all with his new partner, Jane Dacombe. The couple were joined by a team of eight others this weekend, riding a course from Barton-on-Humber to Cleethorpes, taking in the three lighthouses at Killingholme – Killingholme High Lighthouse, Killingholme South Lighthouse and Killingholme North Low Lighthouse.

“Jane does all the riding with me, she is brilliant. She is absolutely supportive and brilliant at all of this,” Mr Sturgeon said. “It was meant to take me two years and it’s probably going to take me four years now. It’s taking me a long time, so it’s not some epic cycle round – I started in 2019!

“I collect lighthouses and I collect people. I offer these rides out to a community, I put it on Instagram and I have an email group, and I invite people to ride with me.

“This weekend there were 10 of us – but when we did the stretch in the Wirral, we were a team of 25. The more people who want to join in, the better.”

To find out more about the charity, visit the A Bit of a Break website.