From Carlisle to Paris - in memory of my dad

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A man who has owned his bike for less than a year cycled from London to Paris in memory of his dad.

Eddie Williams took part in the Alzhiemer's Society's annual event which sees hundreds of people ride between the two capital cities - 340 miles and almost 14,000 ft of ascent in four days - to raise much-needed funds for the cause.

For Eddie, 55, of Warwick Bridge, it was particularly close to his heart, having lost his dad Bill, aged 89 to the disease only 12 months ago.

It was ten years ago when he first noticed his dad's memory loss when he asked if he could borrow one of his tools. His dad swore he'd never owned one.

It was so sad seeing a man who had once been so proud of his garden, chair-bound and latterly bed-ridden

From there Bill's health took a slow but steady decline and he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2012.

"It was so sad seeing a man who had once been so proud of his garden, chair-bound and latterly bed-ridden," said Eddie.

"His constant and demanding care requirements took a massive toll on my mother both physically and emotionally but thankfully she is still here."

Bill had very little grasp of reality left before he passed away, almost a year to the date Eddie crossed the finish line.

Not wanting to end up like his dad and with a hope that one day a cure can be found for the disease, Eddie signed up for the challenge.

"It wasn't long after he died that I saw the event advertised on Facebook," said Eddie, who works for Capita as a systems administrator.

"I thought I would go for it. When you see what it does to somebody; anything I can do to help, that was the drive of it."

In the months leading up to the challenge Eddie did his best to stick to the gruelling training regime while battling depression. "That made it harder. I guess that made it more of an achievement," he said.

"I really enjoyed the trip. It was definitely challenging at times, not just physically but emotionally.

"It was one of those things where you went at your own pace. There were a couple of sessions where I found myself on my own. You just have to grit your teeth and get yourself through it."

On the final leg of the route the peloton road along Paris's most famous street, the Champs-Élysées, and around the Arc de Triomphe.

"It was amazing," he said. "It was really quite an emotional time. All the bystanders and tourists and everybody was cheering."

Eddie is already debating signing up for the event again next year, something he very nearly did the day he got home. If he doesn't do the London to Paris Cycle, he said he will find a new challenge to take on.

This year 130 riders in the event raised more than £271,000 and it was a figure that continued to climb in the days after.

Eddie smashed his personal target of £1,500 by more than £200.

To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/eddie-williams6.

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