To celebrate 50 years as a practising vet, Graham Duncanson is planning to cycle from his home in Norfolk to Cape Town, South Africa – a journey of around 10,000 miles. He also plans to raise money for AWF and would be happy for cyclists to join him for part of the trip.
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Tell us about the trip
Being a large animal practitioner has been the centre of my life for 50 years. My daughter Amelia qualified two years ago but now I need a focus to start my retirement. The trip will be roughly 10,000 miles. I leave Norfolk after a practice retirement party on May 29, and cycle to London for the AWF discussion forum on June 6. There is a trustees' meeting on June 7 and I will leave when that finishes. I'm aiming to catch the overnight ferry from Harwich to the Hook of Holland on June 9.
I have always been interested in animal welfare from a veterinary perspective and I am an enthusiastic AWF trustee.
What inspired the trip?
I was inspired by fellow trustee Emma Milne who raised a large amount of money for AWF by doing a sponsored swim when she was a trustee. Emma will be joining me on the first day's ride.
Have you done much cycling?
Recently I have used my bicycle a lot since I stopped riding my horse to the pub (a friend and I each bought a horse in Hungary in 2006 and we rode them back to the UK – it took 10 weeks). I am hoping to have a second bicycle with me throughout the trip. We will go at a leisurely pace.
How will you break up the journey?
The first break will be to attend my 50-year reunion at Bristol on July 9. I will spend after two nights in Bristol and then return to my bike in Europe. My aim is to be in Athens on October 9. I then fly to Kiev, Ukraine, where I will spend three days teaching.
I will be in Bristol to teach at the BEVA Modern Equine Dentistry Techniques course in the autumn and will also teach part of the New Graduates' Equine Dental course. I will attend the AWF trustees' meeting on November 23 before flying to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with friend and equine vet, Tim Brazil, where we hope to link up with the equine charity SPANA. I will be doing further dentistry in Kenya and Tanzania, eventually linking up with World Horse Welfare in South Africa.
I hope to spend Christmas 2018 in Cape Town.
How can others join you?
I am looking for companions to cycle with me in Europe. I will meet them at an airport that offers cheap flights from the UK – bearing in mind my route will be via the east coast of Italy and then by ferry to Greece. I will have a bike for them. We will cycle together to the next airport, staying in bed and breakfast accommodation on the way.
Africa will be more hardcore. Tim and Amelia have signed up for southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. Anyone who wants to join should e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
AWF manager, Erika has been a marvellous support (e-mail: email@example.com). She will be coordinating my regular blog on ‘vetduncdares’ (https://vetduncdares.wordpress.com). She is also riding at some stage.
How is the training going?
Training is going well – I keep myself pretty fit. I've walked 150 km in Western Australia and played three games of football in a fledging ladies soccer team. I've also climbed Mount Logonot and cycled with buffalo in Kenya and I've been walking on the coastal path around Cornwall.
Do you have a goal as to how much you would like to raise?
£10,000. I have nearly reached £1000 on my justgiving page, www.justgiving.com/Graham-Duncanson
Any embarrassing moments?
I tried riding a tandem in Freemantle, Australia, with an equine dental technician colleague, Catherine Bunny, because at one point I thought a tandem would be a good idea. It was fine with Catherine in front but when I tried on my own I managed to hit a stationary twin/cab so I will definitely stick to a single seater.
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