Anton's pedalling 125 miles a day for 7 days across Essex and Herts

Anton Lavery standing with a bicycle, ready for a cycling fundraiser challenge for The Encephalitis Society

Anton Lavery is cycling across Essex and Hertfordshire during a seven day fundraiser - Credit: submitted

If you spot a cyclist in yellow, blue and red pedalling around Essex and Hertfordshire next month, give a wave to Anton Lavery as he completes a solo challenge.

Anton intends to pedal 875 miles - the equivalent of cycling from Lands End to John O'Groats - in seven days, raising money for an organisation that supported his family.

His 125 mile daily route will start on April 9.

It will take him from his home near Great Bardfield to Saffron Walden and from there to Linton, Balsham, Fulbourn, Cherry Hinton, Great Shelford and back towards Saffron Walden via Duxford, Ickleton and Littlebury.

He will then return to Great Bardfield through Debden and Thaxted, and repeat the loop for a second time each day to clock up the miles.

Anton's solitary fundraiser is in homage to his son Finn's experience when he was ill during the Covid pandemic, and raises funds for The Encephalitis Society who provided them with support and information.

Anton Lavery and son Finn Lavery, Essex

Anton Lavery with his son Finn Lavery supporting last year's World Encephalitis Day. This picture was taken a couple of weeks after Finn got out of hospital - Credit: submitted

Last year Anton's son Finn, a Felsted School student, had just turned 18 when he was diagnosed with encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain.

The condition can have potentially fatal consequences or leave people with a life-changing outcome. It is caused by an infection or through the immune system attacking the brain and can affect anyone.

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Anton said: "For most of the time he was in hospital we could not see him.

"He went through a lot of this on his own. That was quite significant for me. We felt very helpless for the time he was in hospital.

"Encephalitis by its very nature is disorientating and confusing for the patient. Finn did not receive as much of the normal day to day care that you might expect or even just having a loved one sitting by your bedside holding your hand - that was completely absent."

Finn was initially treated at Broomfield Hospital before being transferred to Queen's Hospital in Romford to a specialist unit.

Anton said the experience will stay with them, but Finn has made an excellent recovery and is now at Northumbria University studying Business Management. 

Anton is asking people to support his fundraiser, including staff at Atlas Winch and Hoist Services where he is the Managing Director.

See: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/anton-lavery1

World Encephalitis Day, which raises awareness of the condition, is on Tuesday, February 22.