Most students at university go on the occasional night out and enjoy their time studying. But three former students and members of Liverpool University Air Squadron decided to take on a mammoth task by cycling from Blackpool Tower to the Eiffel Tower.


They are raising money for the Help for Heroes charity and former JMU student, Matt Hughson, had the idea to try to end his university career on a high: “It’s a very worthwhile cause, giving the guys going out to Afghanistan a chance to have something to come back to if they get injured. It was also very demanding both physically and mentally and we wanted to give ourselves a challenge.”


Matt, along with two other former students, David Ollerhead and Peter Burrows, have so far raised an impressive £2,000, surpassing their £1,500 target. The group cycled the daunting 486 miles from Blackpool to the French capital, visiting many interesting and exciting places on their way.


Not only was this a chance to raise money for a worthy cause, but also

discover a lot about themselves, their strengths and weaknesses and also

have a trip of a lifetime. Dave said: “It was an experience you’ll never forget.

It’s something that my family and I are very proud of. You do learn how far

you can push yourself and learn to be proud of yourself and your



The trio put themselves through three weeks of gruelling training prior to the

event, cycling up to 30 miles a day in order to prepare their bodies for the

distance. Along with this, they kept to a strict high protein diet in order to

improve their strength.


The trip lasted 14 days in total, with 11 of them spent cycling. The friends

experienced many highs and lows along the way, from injury problems to

French downpours, though they powered on through and showed that determination can be your best friend when the elements are against you. Matt said: “The first day in France with torrential rain was hard, we were literally huddled all together under a bridge for about three hours. We didn’t know if we’d be able to do it, it was that bad!”


After two weeks of pain, laughter and arguments, the good friends are now looking back on their achievements and realising that they played their part in helping the heroes.

Former students cycle for soldiers

By Ayden Feeney

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The officer cadets pose outside their Liverpool HQ, Blackpool Tower and the Eiffel Tower in Paris

3 of them- Eifel tower cropped start- blackpool- cropped outside LUAS- cropped under eifel tower- cropped

"There was a point where we didn't think we'd be able to do it."