Bush Hill Park cyclist completes epic ride after overcoming injury

Matthew Scammels cycles from Land’s End to John O’Groats ride in aid of Diabetes UK

Matthew Scammels at John O'Groats
Matthew Scammels at John O’Groats

An architect from Bush Hill Park who was injured halfway through a gruelling long-distance bike ride has completed the challenge a year later.

Matthew Scammels has lived with type one diabetes since he was aged eleven. He had originally planned to ride around 1,000 miles between Land’s End and John O’Groats, while fundraising for the Diabetes UK, last year.

The 47-year-old had only taken up cycling as a way to exercise during the pandemic lockdown. As well as the distance, the 14-day challenge involves 18,000 metres of riding uphill.

Unfortunately, a nasty accident on day eight of his ride last year meant Matthew had to pull out of the challenge and seek hospital care. He said: “I was cycling from Lancaster to Penrith when my bike hit a pothole. It was a wet day, with poor road conditions, and I was thrown off. I had multiple fractures to my right wrist as well as severe sprains to my left wrist and right shoulder.”

After several months of recovery, Matthew was able to restart training and signed up to complete the challenge, starting at Penrith and completing the journey to John O’Groats. He raised £1,440 in total for Diabetes UK.

Jill Steaton from Diabetes UK said: “Congratulations to Matthew and many thanks for persevering with the challenge and the fundraising. It’s an amazing achievement.”

People like Matthew who have type one diabetes cannot produce insulin. About 8% of people with diabetes have type one; no-one knows exactly what causes it, but it’s not to do with being overweight and it isn’t currently preventable. It’s the most common type of diabetes in children and young adults, starting suddenly and getting worse quickly. Type one is treated by daily insulin doses, taken either by injections or via an insulin pump.

Diabetes UK’s aim is creating a world “where diabetes can do no harm”. The charity warns that diabetes is “the most devastating and fastest growing health crisis of our time”, affecting more people than any other serious health condition in the UK. There is currently no known cure for any type of diabetes.

For more information about Diabetes UK and the work it is doing: