A MANSFIELD Woodhouse dad who spent years battling weight problems has completed an epic 6,000km bike ride across Europe with his brother to raise money for children’s charities.
Just 18 months ago, Ben Miles (30) was overweight, inactive, smoked heavily and his health was deteriorating so much that his doctor described him as a ‘heart attack waiting to happen’.
So when he set himself the challenge of cycling 3,585 miles (nearly 6,000km) from the Rock of Gibraltar, the southernmost point in Europe, to Nordkapp in Norway, the northernmost point in the continent, the feat seemed enormous.
But within a year of setting himself the challenge, Ben transformed his health by losing weight, quitting smoking and trained to become as fit as a professional cyclist.
After setting out from Gibraltar six weeks ago, Ben arrived in Nordkapp eight days ahead of schedule after his journey had taken him through Spain, France, Sweden, Finland and Norway.
“When my doctor told me how much at risk my health was, I set myself this challenge to get fit and healthy,” he said. “And it grew into this much bigger challenge to raise awareness, support and funds to help as many children as possible.
“I’m the very proud dad of two beautiful boys but I know only too well that not all kids are as lucky as mine, to have a loving and caring family.”
Ben, who was born with a severe cleft lip and palate, also has a false hip after suffering with a degenerative hip disease and broke his back in a quad bike accident.
He is also the son of the Margaret Miles-Bramwell, founder of Slimming World, which launched a Miles for Smiles fundraising event in support of his ride.
Ben said: “For many years Slimming World has supported the NSPCC and I wanted to make my own contribution to the amazing amount of money – more than £1m – that slimmers have contributed to help prevent child abuse.
“I’d seen pictures of the finish line on the internet, but nothing could have prepared me for arriving in Nordkapp at the end of the ride.
“I felt like I was at the top of the world and I think I probably experienced every emotion possible – excitement, pride, disbelief. But most of all I’m so grateful to everyone who’s supported me along my journey and helped me to raise money for this really worthwhile cause.
“I really hope doing this ride can make a difference to lots of children and their families who really need it.”