From cycling the four compass points of the UK to taking part in ultra-marathons and Rat Races, Andy Gray definitely hasn’t been shy of a challenge or two during his fundraising efforts.
He has supported the Rochester-based Wisdom Hospice since 2012 – handing over £10,000 in the process.
Andy Gray speaking about his achievements
The Lordswood resident details some of the events he has tackled in support of the charity.
The 58-year-old said: “I have got quite a long list. I think the biggest one I have done was cycling the four compass points of the United Kingdom.
“That is probably the one I’m most proud of because it took a couple of years to plan.
“I did it with the aide of four people who volunteered and drove a camper van. We were staying overnight in the camper van, and cycling the route around Britain.
“It took two weeks but it was really great. That’s when I had the cycling bug. I did London to Paris, Paris to Geneva, and the mountains of the Tour de France.
“I did a London Nightrider with the hospice a couple of years ago, as well, before everything stopped due to the pandemic.”
As well as cycling, he hasn’t been afraid of hitting the road on foot, either, or dipping his toes in the water for what he feels is a more than worthy cause.
The London Marathon was completed – albeit virtually – in 2021 too.
The hospice trustee said: “This year, in particular, I have got into the Rat Race events [gruelling adventure sport challenges]. I have been doing them for about five years.
“We had a team for Man v Mountain, we had a team of 10 that did that. It is, basically, running up Snowdon and then jumping into a quarry.
“I enjoy Rat Race events. So we bought season tickets which all got pushed into this year because it all got cancelled last year. These are more ultra-marathons – usually 30 miles upwards, cross country or on urban routes.
“This year’s longest one was right through Medway from London to Canterbury which is 67 miles and which Martyn Reeves [chief executive] supported us on which is great.”
He first became associated with the hospice when they cared for his mum, Barbara, who died when she was 60.
Explaining how he first got involved, he said: “I remember when it opened in 1984.
“My mother had some treatment and was cared for there. They were very open with us.
“I was in my 30s then. Some of the information I was getting didn’t quite add up, so I asked to go and see them.
“They were very realistic about what was going to happen and how things were going to happen.
“That was great because you can then work out how you are going to cope with things and what you are going to do.”
Mr Gray now works at Total Accounting in Chatham but also works as a personal trainer – where he advises his boss, Ann Spickett.
He said: “I have got a good running colleague who is now my boss. She was my client as a trainer.
“I trained her because she wanted to do Tough Mudder but she has now gone on to ultra-marathons as well.”
Mr Gray says some have questioned why he has put his body through so much – having travelled across 2.5 times the height of Mount Everest this year and around 1,600km overall in 2021.
He said: “One is: I enjoy it. That helps, although dragging yourself out of bed on a cold winter’s morning to go and do a training run can be a bit challenging sometimes.
“I like to keep myself fit because I’m also a personal trainer.
“But it’s also knowing there is a good cause there which is also benefitting."
He continued: "In life, not just in fundraising, in anything, it's nice to have a goal to look at and try and achieve.
"Once you have achieved it, then try again. The way I look at things is set to goal and remove the obstacles to get there.
"There is always a way to get there. You have just got to work it out."
Mr Gray says he takes Olly, Wisdom Hospice's mascots, with him on many of his adventures.