A 14-year-old boy has got a taste for adventure after cycling from Monmouth to London in memory of his grandfather.
Ben, who lives in Monmouth, has raised more than £1,500 for the British Heart Foundation after completing a marathon 212-mile cycle over three days.
The Monmouth School for Boys pupil spent several months planning every aspect of the challenge to Greenwich.
Ben admits the adventure was ‘only the tip of the iceberg’ and the keen rower, kayaker and windsurfer is determined to tackle other challenges in the future.
“It was a great experience and we were very lucky because the weather only turned for the last 15 miles,” said Ben, who rows four times a week with the school and with Monmouth Rowing Club.
“It’s the first time I have done anything like this but I think it’s the tip of the iceberg because I would be very interested in more adventures.”
Ben was joined on the challenge by his dad Jon, while his mum Jenni provided back-up with a car in case of emergencies and she also rode parts of the route.
The teenager cycled to Chepstow before picking up National Cycle Route Four, which he followed all the way, stopping at Devizes on the first day, and Twyford on the second.
He followed country lanes, disused railway lines and travelled along the Kennet and Avon Canal and River Thames.
Ben cycled from Twyford to Windsor on the final day, gliding through Windsor Great Park, along the River Thames and past Hampton Court Palace.
He travelled through Richmond Park and headed into Central London, eventually reaching the finishing line in Greenwich.
“When we got to the finishing point it was an amazing feeling and I don’t think the ride could have gone much smoother or better,” said Ben, who is in Year 10 at Monmouth School for Boys.
“I am thankful and very grateful for the tremendous support I have received from people who have made donations to the British Heart Foundation.
“The initial fund-raising target was £500 but the figure, with Gift Aid, has gone beyond £1,500 due to magnificent support I have received.”
Second Master at Monmouth School for Boys, Mr Dorman, said: “It was lovely to see Ben come up with an idea like this and then follow it through all the way to its completion – something, I am sure, he will remember all of his life.”
Ben’s mum, Jenni, said: “Ben first started talking about the challenge and planning it last year.
“We had a spare weekend and just went for it. The challenge was Ben’s idea and we were merely there to support him. It was a great achievement and we are very proud of him.”