Seb swaps the lifeboat for a penny farthing

PUBLISHED: 07:30 17 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:44 24 July 2019

Seb Cope out training on his penny farthing. Picture PSPA

Seb Cope out training on his penny farthing. Picture PSPA


A Lyme Regis lifeboat volunteer is in training for a gruelling 55-mile charity cycle ride – on a bike with no gears and no brakes.

Seb Cope, a self employed designer, will ride his bone-shaking penny farthing from London to Brighton to raise money for the Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Association (PSPA).

He is taking on the challenge as a tribute to his former employer's wife, Janet, who is living with the effects of PSP.

Despite his bicycle having a 48-inch wheel and no mechanical means of slowing down, Mr Cope is attempting to complete the ride in a single day, including the formidable and infamous Ditchling Beacon.

He will be among thousands of cyclists taking part in the annual event.

The riders will set off from Clapham Common at 6.30am on Sunday, September 15, and Mr Cope will need to complete his unique ride by 5pm to avoid missing his bus home.

Seb said: "It's a scary thing to ride the penny farthing for so many miles, but it's nothing compared to the frightening reality of living with PSP every day.

"Having worked for Janet's husband, Peter, for more than 15 years means she is like family to me, and the least I can do to draw attention to this devastating disease.

"Yes, the thought of Ditchling Beacon without gears or brakes sounds crazy, but it will all be worth it to raise money to fund research into a possible cure."

PSP is a progressive neurological condition affecting approximately 5,000 adults in the UK and is caused by the progressive death of nerve cells in the brain.

The deteriorative nature of PSP over time leaves those affected unable to balance, walk, talk, eat, swallow, drink and see.

There is currently no cure, but there is hope that the accelerating pace of research into PSP will lead to future effective treatments to limit the devastation this disease causes.

To make a donation to Seb's Virgin Money page and help to raise funds for research into PSP, click here.

To find out more about PSPA visit the charity's website or find the charity on Facebook and Twitter.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Midweek Herald. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Latest from the Midweek Herald