Wigan borough grandad who beat cancer marks his 80th birthday with 80-mile charity challenge

A pensioner who recently recovered from prostate cancer cycled 80 miles for his 80th birthday to raise vital funds for research into the disease.

Grandfather-of-five Bill Hurst, from Atherton, joined more than 120 cyclists on the North West Cancer Research Cycle of Hope and raised more than £1,000 for the charity.

Not content with completing the 60-mile cycle course, Bill was joined by members of his family to ride an extra 20 miles from Southport to Formby, bringing his total achievement to 80 miles to mark his recent birthday.

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Bill Hurst, centre, with fellow cyclists

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It comes after Bill was diagnosed with prostate cancer on New Year’s Eve in 2019, having been persuaded to go to the doctor by friends from his cycling club.

He had two years of intensive treatment and was given the all-clear in April.

Rediscovering a love of cycling after retiring from working as a high school teacher, Bill spent his first year of treatment riding more than 5,000 miles, despite feeling extremely weak due hormone treatment.

After taking an interest in the funding and research required to develop the Covid-19 vaccine, Bill was inspired to use his hobby to raise money for cancer research.

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Cyclist Bill Hurst

He said: “After discovering how important research is in understanding and treating all forms of cancer, I was determined to do my bit and give back to a charity that does such great work in our region.

“I’m passionate about raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer – if it wasn’t for my friends at the cycling club who told me to get tested, I might not be here today.

“Cycling was a huge part of my life throughout my treatment and it's amazing to be able to get on my bike and cycle 80 miles – at the time I thought I’d never recover. I’m extremely grateful to the urology unit at Leigh Infirmary, the radiographers at Salford Royal and Macmillan nurses for the wonderful treatment and support I received.

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“The cycle was a huge challenge, especially in the wind, but my family got me through and it was amazing to have them by my side.

Bill Hurst on his bike

“My goal for this year is to ride Wales end-to-end from Cardiff to Holyhead and do some volunteering where I can too – I’ll keep going as long as I can!”