Milnrow man honours late dad with emotional charity bike ride, repeating his route

Date published: 25 May 2024

A grieving son is honouring his late father who succumbed to cancer, by riding from John O'Groats to Lands End and raising money for charity in his memory.

Ben Johnson, 29, has organised the heartfelt tribute to dad Alan Johnson after he sadly passed away from lung cancer in 2023 - just three weeks after his diagnosis.

His dad, he says, was selfless person who also rode his bike for charity. He wants to honour him by getting in the saddle himself and cycling the exact same roads as his dad, from John O’Groats in Scotland to Lands End in Cornwall.

Incidentally, Ben had toyed with the idea of doing the ride before his father’s death, and had already considered raising funds for the Springhill Hospice and Christie’s - both cancer charities.

Shortly after he told his dad of his plans, he received the devastating diagnosis of stage-four lung cancer.


Ben's dad Alan Johnson, Ben Johnson, son Ronan Johnson, and brother Sam Johnson 
Ben's dad Alan Johnson, Ben Johnson and his son Ronan, and Ben's brother Sam Johnson


Ben told Rochdale Online: “It was heartbreaking and so bizarre at the same time. The very charities that I wanted to raise money for were the ones ringing my dad to offer support after his diagnosis.

“We didn’t know he was ill at the time. I took that as a sign that it was definitely the right thing to do, and the right charities to raise money for.”

He added: “Unfortunately my dad passed away a few weeks later, so I’ve chosen to do this ride for him.”

Ben, from Milnrow, will set off to Scotland on 28 July, with plans to start cycling the day after. He calculated that he'll cycle 75-100 miles per day and the challenge will take 12 days to complete.

Ahead of the trip, Ben has been showered with offers of sponsorship and has received a van from Practical Car & Van Hire, equipment from The Endurance Hub, fuel money from Never ‘Bin’ Greener, and even the bike itself from Graham Poole Road Transport.

To top it off, I-Branded Ltd, another Rochdale company, donated his clothing and some fundraising t-shirts.

Ben added: “I’m so grateful to everyone who has helped to make this possible.”

“Let’s all come together and help those who help us.”

At the time of publication, Ben had raised £2,500 of his £5,000 target. You can donate by visiting his crowdfunding page:

There will also be a fun day in Milnrow on Saturday 1 June, where all money raised will go towards his cause:

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