Grandfather, 88, becomes oldest person to cycle length of UK

Grandfather, 88, becomes oldest person to cycle 874 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats – but had to do it TWICE after realising he wasn’t old enough the first time

  • Grandfather-of-five Laurence Brophy, of Pencoed, South Wales, holds the record
  • He first took on challenge of cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats in 2019
  • The retired teacher set off in August to cycle the 874 mile-length of the UK

A grandfather has become the oldest person to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats but had to do it twice after realising he wasn’t not old enough the first time.

Grandfather-of-five Laurence Brophy, 88, from Pencoed, South Wales, holds the record after he completed the gruelling 25-day cycle which totalled 874 miles. 

He first took on the challenge of cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats in 2019, aged 87 – only to learn that someone aged 87 had already completed the journey. 

Grandfather-of-five Laurence Brophy, 88, from Pencoed, South Wales, holds the record after he completed the gruelling 25-day cycle which totalled 874 miles

The retired teacher set off in August to cycle the length of the UK, beginning at his home in South Wales.

He then cycled down to Land’s End in Cornwall and ended at John O’Groats in the North of Scotland. 

To raise further awareness of homelessness he spent almost every night of his challenge sleeping rough. 

The retired teacher set off in August to cycle the length of the UK, beginning at his home in South Wales

Laurence ‘slept rough’ for most of the trip and slept in tents, on roadsides and even on hay bales in farm barns.

The grandfather, who goes by the nickname ‘Laurie’, who also used to run marathons, said he is always ‘motivated by a challenge’.

He said: ‘I found out that someone the same age as me had already completed it.

‘But I knew I could be the oldest. I know if I give myself a target like that, I’ll stick to it – and I did.

Laurence then cycled down to Land’s End in Cornwall and ended at John O’Groats in the North of Scotland

‘But I’m not done yet – I’ve already started planning my next challenge.’  

Laurence, who lives his wife Ruth Brophy, 70, raised a whopping £6,050 in the process this year.

He donated to Llamau, a homeless charity which supports vulnerable women and children across Wales. 

Laurence said: ”One night I slept in a little barn at a farm, and just as I had got settled into my sleeping bag, the farmer’s wife came out to me.

Laurence, who lives his wife Ruth Brophy, 70, raised a whopping £6050 in the process this year

‘She brought me a flask of tea and a little piece of cake, which was lovely.. One thing I experienced on the journey was definitely the kindness of strangers.’

Laurence has lived in South Wales for 45 years after he moved to Cardiff to train to be a teacher in his 20s where he met Ruth who was also training to be a teacher.  

He spent his working life teaching at local primary and secondary schools, as well as raising two daughters, Katy Brophy, now 49 Samantha Wools, 43.

Despite now holding the title as the oldest man known to have completed the cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats, Laurie only began cycling a few years ago.

Despite now holding the title as the oldest man known to have completed the cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats, Laurie only began cycling a few years ago

After Laurence cycled the route in 2019 Laurence discovered Donald Wells had also completed the journey in 2018 aged 87

Laurie said: ‘I’ve had a bike for a long time but I only used it for little journeys, to trundle around on or go to the shops.

‘It’s only been in the past few years I’ve started cycling longer journeys, because I’m too old to run now.’ 

After he cycled the route in 2019 Laurence discovered Donald Wells had also completed the journey in 2018 aged 87. 

The Llamau charity said: ‘We’re so grateful to Laurence for once again taking on such an epic challenge in aid of Llamau.

The Llamau charity said: ‘We’re so grateful to Laurence for once again taking on such an epic challenge in aid of Llamau’

‘The funds he’s raised will all go towards supporting many vulnerable young people, women and children.

‘Last year, we were able to help nearly 14,000 people, and we simply couldn’t do that without incredible people like Laurence! We cannot thank him enough.’

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