Aylesbury Vale man’s 2,000-mile charity cycle for Sands in memory of sister

A 23-year-old Steeple Claydon man is setting out on an ambitious 2,000-mile cycling challenge in memory of his sister, who would have turned 20 this year.

By Hannah Richardson
Thursday, 30th June 2022, 11:07 am

Luke Glynn, who moved to Steeple Claydon with his family at the age of eight, will tour 2,000 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats in just 20 days, to raise money for the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (Sands).

Luke’s sister, Poppy, died shortly after birth when Luke was about three years old.

He said: "Sands is a charity that helped my parents, and my family in general, a tremendous amount at the time, through the bereavement support lines as well as the advice that they gave to my family in how to overcome what is obviously a devastating thing.

Luke Glynn, left, with his friend, Liam Blundell

"It changes your whole world really and it’s probably very difficult to face without the support of a qualified professional or just someone to talk to.

"So they did fantastic work for my parents then, and their research into reducing the number of babies that die is quite phenomenal really.”

Luke’s journey will take him from Cornwall to Scotland, before zigzagging back down the country to finish in Hemel Hempstead, where he was born and where his sister was laid to rest.

Cycling 60 to 100 miles a day, he will be joined for most of the ride by his friend, Liam Blundell, with logistics support from another friend, Olly Bagley.

Luke has already raised £2,074 on his JustGiving page.

Luke came up with the idea of the cycling challenge in 2020, originally planning to cycle 1,800km in 18 days, in honour of what would have been Poppy's 18th birthday.

But as he planned the challenge, his bike was stolen and the Covid pandemic swept across the world.

Now, two years later, he has added 900 miles to his original goal.

Luke will set off on July 24 and arrive in Hemel Hempstead on August 13 – which would have been Poppy’s 20th birthday – where he will meet his family at his sister’s resting place.

In May, he got his first ever tattoo – of a poppy – adding to his fundraising total.

Now he’s busy training for the challenge, which he admits is “a bit mad”, but he’s looking forward to it.

“Every day is going to be a full working day, basically, it’s going to be a full eight hours, but then I’ll have stops as well and I’ll be taking in parts of the country that I’ve never seen or even heard of.

"Very few people have probably had the privilege to see the whole country in three weeks.

"It’s quite bizarre to think I’ll see so much in quite a short space of time, so much different scenery, different accents, meeting loads of different people along the way. I’m really lookng forward to it.”

Luke is assistant manager at Buckingham’s new pub restaurant The Grand Junction, owned by the Oakman Group.

And with the support of the group, his last training exercise, on July 12, will be to cycle between as many of the group’s pubs as he can in a day, collecting donations as he goes.

People can donate to Luke’s fundraiser here and follow his journey on his Instagram page.