An armed forces veteran has taken on an epic 187-mile cycle from Portsmouth to Cardiff to raise money for the Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) and is close to meeting his £1,500 target for the charity.
Kevin Jones served in the Royal Marines in the early part of his career and after retiring joined the Cardiff Bay Police as a Communities & Partnerships Officer. He enjoys linking young people to the JST and in his spare time is an active member of the JST Cardiff branch.
His gruelling 187 mile cycle took him from the Portsmouth historic dockyard, back to his hometown of Cardiff over the May bank holiday weekend, in aid of the JST after the global sailing charity faced a challenging 18 months during the pandemic.
With his links to the forces, Kevin chose to saddle up in the home city of the Royal Navy. He set off from the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard aside the HMS Victory, cycling the 187 miles to Britannia Quay in Cardiff where the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s first voyage post-pandemic will set sail to Belfast at the end of June.
Speaking of his bank holiday challenge, Kevin said: “It was the first day that was the hardest, especially as I managed to get slightly lost along the way!
“This was always going to be a tough task for me however, but it’s nothing in comparison to what many individuals have been facing across the country in the last 18 months because of Covid.”
Fortunately for Kevin, he was joined by his friend and police colleague, Jeff Lewis, who cycled with him to the finish line on the last day.
“When Jeff joined me to cycle the last leg of my journey, I was over the moon. It gave me the extra push I needed to get the job done,” added Kevin.
Kevin’s wife, Becky, also helped gather crowds towards the end of Kevin’s cycle challenge, which gave him an added boost.
Like many other charities across the country, the JST has had to scale back its fundraising activities during the Covid crisis and subsequent lockdowns, and Kevin wanted to give back to the charity he is a champion for.
He added: “The ethos of the Jubilee Sailing Trust is brilliant; it brings together mixed-ability groups to work as a team on board its tall ship – and these voyages have been instrumental with regards to personal development for many individuals over this last year – including me! This is my opportunity to give something back to the charity.
“To start in the Navy City of Portsmouth seemed apt for both me as a former Royal Marine and for the sailing charity I’m supporting.
“Having already raised close to £1,500, I’ve been overwhelmed with the generous donations I have received.”
Chief Executive of the JST, Patrick Fleming, said: “We are so grateful to Kevin for deciding to pedal from England to Wales in our honour – we hope he can have a well-earned rest this week.
“We offer people of all abilities the opportunity to climb aboard our tall ship Tenacious for an immersive sailing experience, and we are unable to do this without vital funds.
“With the pandemic having a massive impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing across the country, the work we do and the difference we make, is needed now more than ever.”
The JST relies on funding from the public in order to continue changing people’s lives. Since its founding in 1978 the Jubilee Sailing Trust has welcomed more than 50,000 people on board.