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Loving husband Nigel Maris from Snitterfield undertakes 1,000-mile motorbike challenge for Myton Hospice





WITH 1,000 miles in the saddle, it’s no wonder it’s known as the ‘iron butt’ challenge.

But that’s exactly what biker and diving instructor Nigel Maris will be attempting next week, to raise money for Myton Hospice as his wife Mel fights cancer.

Nigel and seven of his Midlands Motorbiker buddies will ride all the way up to northeast Scotland and back again – in less than 24 hours.

They will meet at 5.30am on Wednesday, September 6th from a spot near junction 15 of the M40.

Motorbiker Nigel Mantis is taking the ‘iron butt’ challenge up to Scotland and back in 24 hours. Photo: Mark Williamson
Motorbiker Nigel Mantis is taking the ‘iron butt’ challenge up to Scotland and back in 24 hours. Photo: Mark Williamson

And to make it back within the tight time limit, they have to ride with few and short stops.

The challenge is also strictly regulated, so riders must produce fuel receipts and photographic proof of mileage, taken at official checkpoints along the route.

Mel and Nigel
Mel and Nigel

With an average speed of around 70 miles an hour, the pressure’s on to concentrate while dodging hazards ranging from roadworks and closed roads to rain and mechanical breakdown.

The group is aiming to raise more than £5,000 for the Warwick hospice, where Nigel’s wife Mel, 54, is being treated for cancer. She was originally diagnosed with breast cancer but sadly it spread to her bones, skull and liver.

Nigel said: “Mel was given a three to four-year prognosis from the start of Covid and we think we might be close to the final phase of that.

“She’s going through a roller coaster at the moment with chemo.”

He added: “At one point, we didn’t think she was going to see Christmas but we’re both trying to stay positive and try and do as much stuff together as we can.”

The couple, who live in Snitterfield, have four grown-up daughters between them.

Tragically, this isn’t the first time Nigel has needed Myton’s services – his first wife, Lynn, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1991. This later spread to her brain and Lynn, who died in 1995, spent two and a half weeks and her final days at Warwick Myton Hospice.

Motorbiker Nigel Mantis is taking the ‘iron butt’ challenge up to Scotland and back in 24 hours. Photo: Mark Williamson
Motorbiker Nigel Mantis is taking the ‘iron butt’ challenge up to Scotland and back in 24 hours. Photo: Mark Williamson

Nigel’s motorbike riding partner for the Saddlesore 1,000 challenge, James Ricardo, also has a very personal reason to fundraise, as his mother was diagnosed with a brain tumour and spent her last weeks at Myton.

The bikers will pair-up – Nigel with James – to help each other through the endurance test.

And as this is the second time they have tackled it, they say they’ve learned from last time.

“We jokingly refer to it as Top Gear rules, which means that as long as nobody comes off or gets injured, if they can’t complete purely because of a mechanical breakdown, the rest of the group will carry on,” Nigel explained.

“We’ll make sure that anybody that stops is safe but we're on a mission, not a jolly ride-out.

“We want to get this challenge done, so as long as at least one pair make it back, we’ll class that as a win. That said, ideally, like last time, we’ll get everybody back.”

VIDEO: Nigel and Martin discuss their personal reasons for raising money for Myton

The team hope to set up a tracker via Google maps, so all those interested can follow their progress.

Nigel, 63, who’s managing director of Assemtron based in Masons Road, was also in action, this time underwater, at Stratford British sub-aqua club which is also helping raising funds for Myton Hospice.

The diving club offered ‘try dives’ for the Midlands motor bike group on last Thursday (31st August) at Stratford Leisure Centre with all proceeds going to Myton Hospice.

To donate to the fundraiser for Myton Hospice visit James Ricardo is fundraising for The Myton Hospices (justgiving.com)



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