Motorcycle mates set off to raise 20,000 euros for dementia charity

Bikers Angus and Hedley in Andorra, after one of the early stages of their trip this week.
Bikers Angus and Hedley in Andorra, after one of the early stages of their trip this week. / SUR
  • Hedley Smith and Angus Charlton left the Costa del Sol last Sunday on a trip that will take them 9,000 kilometres across Europe

Two Brits are riding through 20 European countries in 20 days in aid of the UK-based Alzheimer's Society.

Benahavís-based Hedley Smith and Angus Charlton set off last Sunday and have already visited Gibraltar, Portugal and Andorra by riding on average 500 kilometres a day.

The friends will continue on to Monaco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Albania - before planning where to go next.

Newcastle-born Hedley, 56, whose mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease three years ago, told SUR in English from Andorra:

"We've had to change a lot of the route because of Covid, but apart from that it's been going smoothly so far. Our next stage is 700 kilometres to Monaco from Andorra.

"We are just trying to raise awareness for Alzheimer's while having a laugh."

Angus, 55, who is from Hexham, also had an aunt who died with dementia.

Their exploits along the way will be filmed and uploaded onto their YouTube channel, Mid-Life Bikers, which has 2.26K subscribers with posts regularly achieving many thousands of views.

Hedley, who works in the holiday rental business, added: "When we decided to embark on this trip there was only one charity I had in mind and that was Alzheimer's Society.

"The support they have given my mum since her diagnosis has been fantastic. Dad has been delighted with it.

"Some years ago he lost both his legs due to diabetes and mum became his main carer, but since her diagnosis their roles have been reversed and he's found it tough.

"It's a cruel disease - it's awful to see people you love robbed of their memories. Thankfully, mum still knows who I am but sometimes when I've visited and stayed overnight she has been surprised to see me in the morning.

"We want to do all we can to help people like her get the support they need and are urging businesses and individuals alike to help us to achieve our £20K target."

The current coronavirus pandemic has hit people living with the condition harder than any other group - a quarter of those who have died of Covid-19 in England and Wales had dementia data shows.

Hedley added: "We've planned for the trip as best we can, but you can guarantee things will go wrong, especially when it comes to border crossings and paperwork."

You can following the Mid-Life Bikers' progress on their YouTube channel, while donations are being accepted on JustGiving.