IT WAS seeing the treatment of his late father, which made Benjamin May want to cycle almost 800 miles to raise money for a Hampshire hospice.

Benjamin has now set his sights on riding from John O’Groats in Scotland to his father’s front door in Fair Oak on July 22.

The 31-year-old barber said: “After my dad had passed the whole family wanted to do things to raise money in his memory, I didn’t want to jump out of a plane because I am scared of heights, so I thought I would cycle.

“I was really boastful after I said it.

“Everyone seemed really shocked and impressed when I said what I was going to do.

“It wasn’t until I Googled it and saw the distance that I realised why they were so shocked, I was too.

“But by that point it was too late,” he joked.

Benjamin’s father, Steve May was 61-years-old when he died from a brain tumour at the Countess Mountbatten centre in West End in August last year.

He went into the hospice two days before his death and when he was admitted, he was fitting for hours.

“The staff at the hospice were great, one of the on-call doctors drove all the way from the hospice to Southampton General Hospital to get him more sedatives to calm him down – he wasn’t even suppose to be working.

“The medicine and the care the staff gave my dad controlled his fitting and meant that he could pass very peacefully,” said the barber, who now lives in London.

“My dad was amazing, he was my best friend.

“There isn’t anyone without faults, but he was my hero.

“He was very well liked, the first to the bar and the last off the dancefloor.

“He was the kind of man that people wanted to talk to, everybody wanted to be his friend.”

For the last few months Ben has been training for the challenge of his life, cycling from the most northern point of the UK to Fair Oak in just five days.

The hairdresser who went to Wyvern School, has been attending three spin classes a week as well as cycling more than 40 miles every weekend.

As the challenge draws closer he hopes to increase his training to 100 miles a day.

“As much as I am doing this for my dad, I am also doing it for anyone else who needs to go to the Countess Mountbatten, but I know when I am riding up of those big hills, his memory will keep me going.

“When it is getting tough, I close my eyes and I see him.

“I know in the moments when it is disgustingly hard the memory of my dad will keep me pedalling on.”

At Steve’s funeral last year, more than 100 people turned up to pay their respects to the builder who lived in Fair Oak.

Benjamin will set off on July 22, riding alone for the duration of the journey with his brother Ryan driving a support vehicle to provide food and water.

“I know it is going to be a mental battle, when I hit the point when my legs are burning it is being able to push through which will be the real challenge.

“The mental battle to keep going and turning the peddles – that’s when the memory of my dad will drive me on.”

Benjamin has set up a justgiving page to raise money for the hospice with a target of £4,000.

Benjamin’s girlfriend will also be holding a tattoo competition in London to raise money.

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