London calling

• Ray Duffy stopped by the Herald’s office en-route from Perth to Adelaide on his bike. Photo by Molly Schmidt

BRITISH cyclist Ray Duffy popped into Chook HQ on Monday with a story to tell.

The 73-year-old is cycling solo from Perth to Adelaide to raise funds for Harefield Hospital in London, which saved his life, and cared for wounded Australian soldiers during World War I.

“Some people ask why I’m doing this in Australia,” Duffy says.

“Because there’s an important connection between Harefield Hospital and this country.”

More than 100 years ago the owners of the hospital, the Billyard-Leakes family from South Australia, gifted it to the Australian government so they could care for wounded diggers returning to England from the front.

“It was the first auxiliary Australian hospital in 1915, being one chapter in Harefield Hospital’s remarkable 100 year-plus history,” says Mr Duffy, who was rushed there himself in 2013 after collapsing in his home.

“During my heart observations, cancer was found on my lung resulting in surgery,” he says.

He received ongoing support from the hospital, along with his wife who has also suffered heart problems, and now Mr Duffy wants to give something back.

His ride will take him between four to six weeks, and he’s chuffed he’s going to catch the wildflowers in bloom across the Nullarbor.

“This is day three. I’m getting into the routine and I love Fremantle, I think it’s lovely.

“The architecture, all the porches over the road, I want to come back here.

“I’ve got my tent, a sleeping bag, some clothes, a cycling cape and water.”

And of course, like any good Englishman, some tea and milk so he can enjoy a well-deserved cuppa.

To donate go to http://www.rbhcharity.org/fundraisers/ray-duffys-australian-cycle-challenge

by MOLLY SCHMIDT

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