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Ryan Jones continues NHS fundraising with cycling challenge

Ryan Jones continues NHS fundraising with cycling challenge

Not content with running a marathon in his own garden, Grand Slam-winning former Wales captain Ryan Jones has already set himself a new challenge to conquer.

The 39-year-old completed the 26-mile feat last weekend during lockdown at his home in Swansea to help raise money for NHS staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Supporting a campaign to raise extra resources for the Swansea Bay University LHB charitable fund, he smashed his original target to raise £8,000 for the cause.

“The run wasn’t too bad,” Jones explained. “It was boring but once you get in the rhythm I quite enjoyed it and I was blown away by the level of support I received.

“One of the most touching moments came about halfway through when someone knocked on the door and it was a local nurse who we don’t know.

“She knocked on the door just because she was passing and knew what I was doing and she just wanted to say thank you. That was the moment that brought it all home.

“I was quite moved by that. The kids were out doing their thing while daddy was up to his old tricks again and we had the neighbours showing their support over the fence.

“They were keeping my spirits high and I just really enjoyed it to the point that by the time I finished I thought, ‘What’s next?’ as I was keen to do something else.”

Jones has now come up with another physical test for this weekend, encouraging 100 people to join him in raising £100 each by riding 100 miles on an indoor exercise bike.

Among those joining him for the challenge is fellow British & Irish Lion Rob Henderson and the JustGiving page set up by Jones for his latest idea has already raised more than £12,000.

“I have been overwhelmed again by the level of support from everyone,” he said. “That’s not just people donating, it’s old colleagues retweeting or sending messages.

“That’s been the real positive and then to see the generosity of so many is just incredible. I appreciate that everyone has experienced tough times, personal or professional.

“But the generosity of so many just blows me away. I have Hendo [Rob Henderson] my old Lions tourist mate get in touch and he’s going to take part which is great.

“I have had lots of great messages from others too. It’s just been a real positive and it’s something anyone can do as I’ve had people message to say can they do it in teams.

“Others have asked can they take a break or do it as a tag team with the kids and it’s just about getting it done and having lots of fun with it, try and make it as open as possible.”

The former back-rower, the current Welsh Rugby Union performance director, played 75 times for his country and won Grand Slam titles in 2005, 2008 and 2012.

And despite having achieved so much during his career, Jones said the support he has received and generosity shown has surpassed all his expectations.

“When you think it was only eight days ago that I came up with the idea for the first challenge, sitting in the kitchen thinking what could I do to support others,” he said.

“Here we are now with £20,000 going to a wonderful cause and I feel like I’ve done my small bit, I’m just stunned by the generosity of so many people.

“It’s also captured people’s imaginations and I’ve had friends who have jumped on board, who I wouldn’t have thought would have got involved, to show their support.

“Like everyone else I struggle with the mundaneness of it, the confinement, I’m not built for that I don’t think and this has gone some way to giving me a purpose.”

To support Jones’ cycling challenge, visit his JustGiving page here