A CYCLING trio has managed to complete more than 800 miles across 12 days, in a bid to raise thousands of pounds for a newly set up student support fund.

At the beginning of September, previous Gillingham and Shaftesbury Agricultural Society president, Anthony Wilkinson, alongside Julie Hillier and Rob Gale, took on the challenge to cycle from Lands’ End to John O Groats - around 874 miles.

Speaking after the challenge, Anthony told the Journal: “It was wonderful to do - I think back and just think how lucky we were with the weather.

“Our combined age is 182[-years-old] with the three of us. It was a big achievement and we’re very grateful and lucky to have done it.”

In the lead up to the cycle Anthony would complete short bike rides five days a week as part of a training regime, but the changes in scenery as the trio travelled from the south of England to Scotland made the endeavour and inclines “worth it”.

Describing some of the views as “stunning”, Anthony added: “It was just amazing going along and watching the country change so much. In Scotland there was a bit of rain and a storm, but going into Glen Coe it was just warm and sunny.”

As previously reported, this cycle was to help raise money following the launch of the society’s latest support fund, designed to assist students financially entering the world of agriculture.

The ‘Student Support Fund’ will target those starting an education or training in agriculture, horticulture or countryside, by helping cover costs of tuition fees, books, equipment, transport and more.

The money to aid these budding land lovers will be raised by the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Agricultural Society through challenges, events and fundraisers, including this trio’s feat.

Anthony added: “The ‘Student Support Fund seems something that is worthwhile that is becoming more important, especially as it is something supporting young people.

“I think even lockdown has shown the importance of agriculture and our own countryside.”

The society will open applications in the new year offering help with the cost of 2021/2022 college or university essentials and support.

The group had set a fundraising target of £2,000, and according to the online Just Giving page more than £600 has been raised so far.

To donate visit the group's Just Giving page.