Cyclist Mike Rainton may technically be a pensioner at 70 – but that has not stopped him riding the equivalent of 12 times around the planet.
The former Hartlepool man has clocked up over 304,000 miles in the saddle since pedalling to ICI in Billingham where he started work in the sixties aged 15.
Many of the miles have come from charitable rides including eight annual journeys travelling the length of the country from Land’s End to John o’ Groats.
In that time, he has raised over £18,000 for the Bishop Simeon Trust which helps children in South Africa affected by apartheid and HIV or AIDS.
This year, Mike has also raised over £2,000 for the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester where his 18-year-old grandson is having treatment for cancer.
The money is also supporting the Sara’s Hope Foundation which provides holiday breaks for young people living with cancer.
I turned 70 in January but thought ‘it has to be done’Mike Rainton
Although Mike now lives in Lowestoft in Suffolk, he said much of the money he has raised over the years has come from supporters back in his home town.
In particular, old friends from West Hartlepool Rugby Club, which he used to play for and Hartlepool Cycling Club.
Mike completed his latest Land’s End to John o’ Groats challenge in June.
He said: “I turned 70 in January but thought ‘it has to be done’. I also did a 60-mile ride from Manchester to Blackpool charity ride to raise money for Christie’s hospital where my grandson is being treated.
“It is absolutely superb in terms of the care, staff and treatment which is second to none.
“I raised well over £2,000 and a lot of that came from friends in Hartlepool. I want to say a big thank you to Hartlepool and West rugby club and Hartlepool cycling club.
“They always remember me from the past and donate.”
Mike, who used to live in Kingsley Avenue, was been back in town last week with his brother David Rainton, who lives in Malaysia, for an annual visit.
Speaking of passing 300,000 miles on the bike, Mike added: “I’m a bit obsessed with counting my miles and have topped 304,000 now.
“It started when I was 15 and decided I could beat the bus and cycled 10 miles each way to Billingham.”
And regarding future sponsored rides the length of the UK he added: “I did have an ambition of doing 10 so I’ve got two more to go.”