A GROUP of 29 cyclists are to embark on a 550-kilometre cycle from Clapham to Falmouth in aid of a former Poole Grammar School teacher.

The collective of close friends and family members, all of whom grew up in the Wimborne and Poole area, will set off from London on Wednesday June 30 and aim to reach the Cornish harbour town on July 4.

Brothers Callum and Ali McIntosh have arranged the fundraiser after their father John was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a rare and incurable terminal brain cancer, in August 2020.

Callum said: “It is very aggressive and there isn’t really a cure for it.

“So, my brother and I decided to set up this cycling challenge to raise money for the Brain Tumour Charity who deal with the research side of things.

“Originally, we were going to cycle to Amsterdam but because of the pandemic, we decided to keep it in the UK. We set up the challenge in December 2020 and it has been mine and my brother’s idea, but we have pulled together around 30 of my dad’s close friends and family members to join us.”

Bournemouth Echo: Callum McIntosh with his dad John, who used to be a teacher at Poole Grammar School

John McIntosh spent around 20 years working at the former Kemp Welch Senior Council School, before it was renamed in the last 10 years to St Aldhelm’s Academy, before moving to Poole Grammar School.

Working as a PE and maths teacher, Mr McIntosh stayed at the Poole school for 20 years.

Although well into his chemotherapy, Callum says his dad remains “fit and healthy”.

The cyclists, who range in ability and age, will be cycling more than 110 kilometres a day and raising money for The Brain Tumour Charity in the process.

Bournemouth Echo: Ali McIntosh with two of his friends before a practice cycle ahead of their Clapham to Cornwall ride

Having set up the fundraising page last year, the group have already collected more than £30,000.

Callum, 25, said: “It has been overwhelming. My dad has seen the amount we have raised already and his is obviously pretty proud of us.

“Seeing what we are doing also gives him a bit more motivation to continue fighting against this cancer.

“In terms of us cyclists, we are all a bit apprehensive. It is quite a daunting task we have ahead of us and none of us have pushed ourselves more than 150 kilometres on a bike.”

The wheelers will also be cycling in memory of Roger Whyle, a close friend of John, who died from a sudden heart attack on May 5 at the age of 60.

“My old man’s best friend, who was the best man at his wedding and had helped his out so much at the beginning of diagnosis passed away a month ago,” Callum said.

“The training for the cycle ride and the donations have both ramped up a lot because of this as Roger’s funeral donations were given to my dad’s fundraising page.

“My dad was obviously heartbroken, but the cycle ride gives him something to look forward to.

“It has been an emotional rollercoaster, but we are looking forward to hitting the road to Cornwall very soon.”

To donate to the fundraiser, click here