Creswell: Dedicated husband Derek Hayden continues fight to help people with MS

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A former miner and dedicated husband is continuing his fight to help people with multiple sclerosis.

Derek Hayden, 80, of Dover Road, Creswell, spent years cycling around the country to raise money for the condition which his wife has suffered with for 56 years.

His first cycling venture was from Mablethorpe to Creswell and after that Derek got a taste for the sport and took on a more ambitious challenge. In 1990 Derek rode the 881 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats on his own, in ten days.

After just two years of fundraising, he managed to raise an impressive £28,000 for a multiple sclerosis charity. Derek said: “I have always ridden a bike since I was a little boy but I have never been a professional.”

“I just decided to get on my bike one day and couldn’t stop cycling. I got quite a lot of attention from the bike rides.”

The famous British explorer, Ranulph Fiennes, even heard about Derek’s cycling escapades and wrote to him congratulating him on his achievements.

Attached to the letter were a pair of Ranulph’s socks, which Derek decided to use as a fundraising gimmick and began charging people to ‘have a sniff’.

“You would be surprised by how many people actually wanted to sniff those famous socks,” added Derek.

Derek’s passion to cycling and raising money for charity, gave him the ‘The Lone Rider’, which the press gave him. Unfortunately the cyclist decided to leave his bike days behind him, to dedicate more time to look after his wife, who he visits twice a day at Hollybank nursing home in Creswell.

Derek said: “ I go into the care home and show the people slide shows of my cycling days and pictures from when I went walking through the Peak District.”

Derek is now calling for anyone who may have a projector which they don’t use anymore, to donate to him, so he can carry on reliving his glory days and continue to help people with multiple sclerosis. Anyone who can donate a projector, please drop it into the Guardian offices on Ryton Street.