Soldier’s epic cycle challenge

A Wallsend soldier knows the drill when it comes to fundraising after completing a gruelling 1,800-mile sponsored cycle.

Sergeant Christopher Lilley was part of a nine-strong Royal Engineer team to complete the ride from London to Gibraltar, the birthplace of the corps.

The cycle was organised to celebrate the Engineers’ 300th anniversary, and aimed to raise more than £10,000 for The Royal British Legion, The Royal Engineers Association and Cancer Research UK.

Sgt Lilley and fellow soldiers from 66 Works Group, part of 170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group Royal Engineers, based at Chilwell, set off from the Royal Albert Hall on September 19 to the white cliffs of Dover, where they caught a ferry to Calais, and continued through France and Spain, arriving in Gibraltar on October 1.

Speaking ahead of his journey, Sgt Lilley said: “We are cycling to Gibraltar, which is appropriate because the Royal Engineers carried out a large amount of tunnelling in Gibraltar.

“It’s going to be quite hard, because it is a long way, but we wanted to push ourselves physically and mentally.”

The riders had varying cycling abilities, ranging from club level to recreational cyclists, and were backed by a six-man support team.

They trained up to five times a week.