A couple from Wakefield have successfully completed the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, raising more than £1,000 for Hft, a charity supporting adults with learning disabilities to live the best life possible.

Janette, 53, and Graeme Smith, 54, finished the route in under eight hours last Sunday (4 August). The husband and wife team were inspired to take on a fundraising challenge when their son spent some time as a support worker at a specialist autism service that the charity runs in Bradford. After enjoying cycling with friends last August, the pair decided to sign up for the ambitious event.

One year on and Janette and Graeme have successfully conquered the biggest fitness challenge of their lives, which saw them join 25,000 other cyclists in the 100 mile cycle. Spanning from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, through the Surrey countryside and finishing back at The Mall in central London, the ride saw Janette travelling through her hometown of Kingston, as well as passing some of the capital’s famous landmarks. Despite some of the route being closed for safety reasons, the couple enjoyed their experience.

Before saddling up to the ride, HR professional Janette and engineer Graeme took on a range of practice cycles, ranging from 49 to 84 mile treks. The sporty pair, who describe training for the event as a massive learning curve, have also been enjoying regular gym and spin sessions, alongside finding out more about nutrition and Janette even learning how to change an inner tube of a bike.

All funds raised by Janette and Graeme will be going towards Hft, which offers person-centred learning disability services ranging from residential care to supported employment and supported living at home – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day.

Reflecting on their achievement, Janette said:

“We’re really proud to have completed RideLondon. It was a challenge but absolutely worth it and we’re so pleased to be able to contribute to such a worthwhile cause. After learning about Hft through our son, we could see the amazing work that the charity does to support people with learning disabilities and wanted to get involved.

“We’re also really grateful to our friends and family who have been so generous in their support of us and the charity.”

Emma Macdonald, Hft’s Sporting and Challenge Events Manager, said: 

“We’re so grateful to Janette and Graeme for their efforts. Completing a challenge like RideLondon is no mean feat and an incredible way to raise money for Hft, meaning we’re able to support people with learning disabilities to live the best life possible.”

Hft currently supports more than 2,900 people with learning disabilities across the country. This includes supporting people with learning disabilities to live independently in their own homes, providing employment services to help people develop skills and experience for work and helping people to pursue hobbies, make new friends and get involved in their local communities.

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About Hft

Hft is a national charity supporting more than 2,500 adults with learning disabilities across England and Wales to live the best life possible. Established in 1962, the charity uses its own unique Fusion Model to consistently deliver high quality, person-centred support across all its services.

Services range from supported living to residential care – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.

For more information about Hft, please visit www.hft.org.uk

Information about learning disabilities

A learning disability can be mild, moderate, severe or profound and is defined as having a reduced ability to:

  • Understand new or complex information
  • Learn new skills
  • Live independently

For more information about learning disabilities, please visit www.hft.org.uk/resources-and-guidance