A Pencoed 88-year-old is on track to break records and raise cash for homeless people as he cycles from Land’s End to John O’ Groats and back again.
Laurence Brophy, a long-time supporter of young people and women’s homelessness charity Llamau, began his epic journey last month to raise cash for people in need during the crisis.
The determined cyclist is also sleeping rough where possible throughout his nearly 2,000-mile round trip to highlight the harsh reality of homelessness and living on the streets.
He has so far found shelter for the night in a bus shelter, under a bridge, by the road side and in a farmer’s shed, despite suffering wild weather.
It’s not the first time Brophy has taken on the challenge. Last year he cycled one way from Land’s End to John O’ Groats, wondering if he could have been the oldest person to do so – but the current record is held by Donald Wells, who was also 87.
Now the 88-year-old is expected to become the oldest person to complete the mammoth journey there and back again by the time he returns to his home in Wales.
Brophy called the challenge “unchartered territory” but was determined to make his journey a success.
The former Green Party candidate and volunteer litter picker said: “I’ll never be able to truly know what it feels like to be homeless. When I sleep rough it’s when I choose. I have a credit card in my pocket, a phone to contact family and friends and I have the confidence to ask a stranger for help if I’m in great enough need.
“When I wake in the morning I have plans for the day ahead and the next day, with long-term hopes and aspirations that make me what I am.
“Homeless people have none of these things so if I could ask one thing from others it would be to give something to support homeless people.”
And he’s completing his mission while dressed as ‘The Green Man’ in a bid to get people thinking about the climate crisis too.
Brophy’s expedition has drawn attention from passers by. A supporter posted on his donation page: “He’s had a bit of a run in with police and ambulance as someone reported a 65 year old (very flattering) man collapsed on the side of the road. Just Laurie having an afternoon nap!”
Yesterday, Brophy had made it as far as Loch Awe in the Scottish Highlands, coming in at more than 900 miles cycled so far.
Charity Llamau publicly expressed a “huge thank you” to Brophy and wished him a safe journey.
He asked supporters to give generously to encourage him onwards, adding: “You will be helping to provide desperately needed support for the most vulnerable people in our society at a time when it’s especially hard for charities like Llamau to make ends meet and carry on doing their invaluable work.”
If the 88-year-old is successful in completing the journey in a little under a month as planned, he should arrive home in Pencoed in the second week of this month.
Donate here to support the remarkable challenge and boost efforts to end homelessness.