Published on: Friday 24 Jun 2016 at 13:53
Hero’s welcome at Hospice for Harlow to Turkey cyclist!
If ever there was a person befitting a hero’s welcome, look no further than Harlow’s own ‘Hospice Hero’ Mehmet Cakmak. The 50 year old Harlow businessman received a fitting hero’s welcome when he returned to the UK having cycled more than 3,000 miles on a solo ride across Europe in aid of St Clare Hospice.
On Saturday 18 June his family and friends hosted a welcome home party at his cafe in Harlow, to celebrate his safe return and incredible feat of physical and psychological strength.
Jade Clarke, St Clare’s Challenge and Events Fundraiser, was there to meet him and said: “It was fantastic to see Mehmet and personally thank him on behalf of all the Hospice staff for his superhuman effort. The endurance and determination needed to complete a 3,000 mile cycle, completely alone and unaided, across 8 different countries is just mind-blowing.”
“We cannot thank him enough for what he has done and I’ve never been so proud to support such an amazing challenger. I was following his journey the whole way and obsessively checked his progress on his online tracker! I was so excited to see him cross the border into Turkey and it was lovely to see photos of him celebrating with his mum and family in Ankara.”
Mehmet experienced so much on his epic journey, he said: “It was fantastic to experience so many different cultures and people while crossing the continent. Not only did the landscape and temperature change – I experienced minus 2 degrees and snow in Germany, then plus 43 degrees and baking sunshine in Bulgaria and Turkey! But I also experienced so many different cultures, language barriers and psychological challenges. There were many kind-hearted people who helped me en route – like a hotel owner in Germany who let me stay for free – that it restored my faith in humanity and showed how kind people are. Although I was a stranger they listened to my story and how I was helping St Clare – a charity thousands of miles away – and they were always willing to lend a hand.”
After 59 days in the saddle Mehmet arrived in his hometown of Ankara on the evening of Monday 13 June to be met by a surprise party of over 50 relatives and friends. On finally reaching his goal Mehmet said: “It was just the best feeling in the world to arrive in Ankara and see all those faces greeting me. Some of my nieces and nephews who I hadn’t seen for years were running up to me saying ‘Uncle – you are my hero! You are my idol!’ My mother, who is 80 years old this year, was there to greet me and that was wonderful.”
Commenting on his trip Mehmet said: “I enjoyed every minute of it! It is quite a come down now that I am home – I want to be back on my bike. I’ve decided that I want to cycle the journey again – this time in reverse, from Turkey to Harlow! My aim is to cycle through as many different countries as possible and this time take a route through Italy and France.”
Mehmet has already raised over £3,500 but still has a way to go to make his £5,000 target. You can sponsor him online here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Mehmet-Cakmak
You can also track Mehmet’s journey across Europe – including photos from his adventures – here: http://www.findmespot.com/spotadventures/index.php/view_adventure?tripid=342764
For more information on Mehmet’s cycle expedition contact St Clare Challenge and Events Fundraiser, Jade Clarke, on 01279 773756 or email email@example.com