Sittingbourne resident takes part in Inspired 1,000 mile cycle challenge to raise funds for MIND

A keen cyclist and resident of Sittingbourne, Stephen Butt, has taken part in a gruelling 1,000 mile cycle challenge to help raise funds for the mental health charity, MIND. The 64 year old, who is a member of the Swale Cycle Touring Club, cycled 487 miles across the country as part of the Inspired 1,000 Mile Challenge, which saw a team of 12 cycle from Exeter to Cheshire in five days from Monday 20 to Friday 24 May. The charity event was organised by Inspired Villages, the retirement village developer behind the new Ledian Gardens community at the Ledian Farm site in Leeds, Kent, which is due to open in Autumn 2020, and at which Stephen and his partner have already reserved a property.

The cycle ride stopped at all of Inspired’s six villages en route, where residents, staff and visitors helped to clock up the remaining 500 miles of the challenge on static bikes and through a variety of exercise, all raising funds for MIND through sponsorship and donations. The challenge was supported en route by celebrities and advocates of staying healthy and active in later life, including TV’s Julia Bradbury, Dr Dawn Harper and Mr Motivator (AKA Derrick Evans) who provided encouragement to the participants.

The initiative formed part of Inspired’s model of creating communities that facilitate an active retirement with a focus on wellness. Jane Shotliff, Community Liaison Manager for Ledian Gardens, organised for two static bikes to be set up in Maidstone Leisure Centre on Tuesday 21 May, where visitors to the centre also helped to contribute miles to the challenge. The event raised nearly £30,000 for MIND and clocked up over 11,374 miles in total, smashing the targets of the challenge.

Stephen Butt and his partner Louise have reserved a two bedroom apartment at Ledian Gardens and will move in when the village is ready in Autumn 2020. A retired transport engineer originally from Devon, Stephen goes on regular cycle rides with the Swale Cycle Touring Club around Kent, and found out about the Inspired cycle challenge through the Ledian Gardens sales team. The route started at Millbrook Village in Exeter and cycled through Dorset, Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Shropshire and Cheshire, where the ride ended at Inspired’s most northerly village, Gifford Lea in Tattenhall.

Stephen commented: “The 1,000 Mile Cycle Challenge was a gruelling tour. I’ve been a keen cyclist for a long time and I am an active member of my local Cycle Touring Club, Swale CTC, but this is the most physically challenging thing I have done to date. I had never cycled nearly 500 miles consecutively before, and on the fourth day there were some testing climbs and summits in the Ironbridge area of Shropshire.

“I am really glad I have done this ride and it is great to have done something to help raise vital funds for MIND. I have signed up to do the Deloitte Lands’ End to John O’Groats cycle challenge in September, which will be 1,000 miles in nine days. Now that I’ve done the Inspired ride, half the distance of the Deloitte cycle, I feel inspired with confidence that I can do double the amount of miles now for my next great challenge.”

Jamie Bunce, CEO of Inspired Villages, said: “We are committed to improving the physical, social and mental wellbeing of our residents across the UK. The 1,000 Mile Challenge was a fantastic way to drive forward Inspired’s health and wellbeing agenda and I enjoyed putting in some miles with my Inspired colleagues and our residents as I joined for 500 miles on my bike.”

Tackling the chronic undersupply of age-appropriate housing, Ledian Gardens will deliver 115 new one and two bedroom later living apartments in the village of Leeds. Set within beautifully landscaped grounds, the village will focus on facilitating an active retirement. Ledian Gardens will be centred around a clubhouse and Wellness Centre, offering a range of facilities and treatments, with a swimming pool, spa, gymnasium, restaurant and shop, all of which will be open to the local public.

Ledian Gardens will be Inspired Villages’ seventh village in the UK, following its retirement villages in Cheshire, Hampshire, Warwickshire, West Sussex and Devon. Its communities provide safe, secure, social and comfortable village environments in which residents can enjoy the freedom of later life with flexible care arrangements if required. The first phase of homes will be complete in Autumn 2020. Apartments at Ledian Gardens are available to reserve now with prices starting from £275,000.

Stephen Butt continued: “My partner and I have reserved a two bedroom apartment at Ledian Gardens and we are looking forward to moving in when the village opens in Autumn 2020. Having done the cycle challenge and met lots of residents who are very happy and positive living in their villages and seeing what the Ledian Gardens village may look like when completed, I feel confident that we have made the right choice. We are especially looking forward to enjoying the health and leisure facilities that will be on site, so that we can continue keeping active very easily, with these facilities on the doorstep.”

To find out more about the homes available at Ledian Gardens visit:

To find out more about Inspired Villages and the 1,000 Mile Cycle Challenge, for which donations to MIND can still be made, visit:

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