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Motorcycling farmer completes third stage of charity ride

Published on 17th August 2015

Sarah and Jon Birchall

Farmer Jon Birchall, (pictured above with wife and Guild Member Sarah Birchall), has completed the third stage of a 5,000-mile motorcycle ride to raise funds for earlier diagnosis of kidney cancer.

A terminal kidney cancer patient himself, Jon is riding his Yamaha FJ1200 around the coast of mainland Britain in support of the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer.

The 54-year-old – who was BBC Farmer of the Year in 2010 – is completing the ride in five stages after setting off from Blackpool on 6 June.

The third stage of the ride saw Jon ride from Berwick-upon-Tweed along England's east coast before travelling home to Herefordshire via the James Whale Fund headquarters in Cambridgeshire.

Along the way he made a special visit to grain, seed and fertiliser traders Nidera, who are among the major sponsors of the charity ride.

So far, Jon has raised £14,240 of a £50,000 target.

The fourth stage of the ride – from Gloucester to Dartford – starts on 1 September. A full itinerary is available at www.facingup2kidneycancer.org.

Jon’s cancer was misdiagnosed in 2010. Despite a correct diagnosis and surgery in 2013 to remove his left kidney and tumour, it was later found that the cancer had already spread to his lungs.

He said: “Receiving the news that my kidney cancer had spread, and that my prognosis was terminal, had a devastating effect on Sarah and me, along with our friends and family.”

I'm not a do nothing person, and once I’d conquered the initial shock, I made my mind up to do everything I could to prevent other people suffering the same fate.”

A Facebook page has been created at www.facebook.com/FacingUp2KidneyCancer for people to follow Jon’s progress as well as to offer support.

A Twitter account is up and running at @facingup2kc. Anyone wishing to interact on social media should use the #facingup2kc hashtag.

Guild Members, Friends, individuals, motorbike clubs, societies, businesses and other supporters are all invited to join Jon at any point of the ride.

Donations can be made at Just Giving (search facingup2kidneycancer) or by texting JBKC55 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 (or another amount preceded by £).

Supporters wishing to ride with Jon for part of the trip and journalists wanting to cover the story should email sarah@facingup2kidneycancer.org.

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