Blind cyclist from Boston set for latest series of tandem-based charity rides

Mark Dickinson, of Boston, with Chestnut Homes sales advisor Kamila Brigden and guide dog Dougal.
Mark Dickinson, of Boston, with Chestnut Homes sales advisor Kamila Brigden and guide dog Dougal.

An inspirational cycling duo – comprising a Boston man who is registered blind and a work colleague – are gearing up for their latest series of tandem-based charity rides.

Team Daisy, as the pair are known, will face at least 10 cycling events (including the first stage of the Tour de France route in Belgium) this year, helping raise funds for Prostrate Cancer UK, the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, and the children’s chancer charity NCTLC Trust.

They are Mark Dickinson, 48, from Boston, and his work colleague at AkzoNobel Graeme Chilvers, 55, of Swindon.

This is their fourth year as Team Daisy. Since starting, they have raised at least £24,000 for their chosen charities. Their name comes from the song Daisy Bell, which includes the line ‘a bicycle built for two’.

Mark, who lives in Boston with wife Louise and 12-year-old daughter Caitlin, was diagnosed with Stargardt macular dystrophy – a rare disease which meant his eyesight experienced a rapid deterioration – in 2007. He was registered blind 18 months later.

He said: “I struggled to cope with life and the transition but through cycling and my guide dog Dougal, I have regained my confidence and can now give back to others who need help.”

For the past three years, the pair have been supported in their charity rides by Lincolnshire housebuilder Chestnut Homes.

This year, it has given them £1,500 towards the participation costs they must meet.

Mark said: “I’d like to thank Chestnut Homes for supporting Team Daisy again this year. Our biggest hurdle is that the greater the event we take part in, the greater the charity bond we need. We need to raise £7,500 this year just to cover our charity commitments without bike maintenance and kit costs.”

Boston United supporter Mark forged his relationship with the housebuilder after meeting its managing director David Newton, who is also chairman of the football club.

Mr Newton said: “We are delighted to sponsor Team Daisy for another year. Mark is a true inspiration and we are so proud to be helping him on his way as he raises the profile of people with disabilities and raises money for some incredibly worthwhile causes.

“Within the company we have some keen cyclists, so we can really appreciate the challenges that Mark and Graeme put themselves through. We’d like to wish them the very best of luck for their events this year and will be cheering them on all the way!”

To support Mark’s fundraising efforts, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/motoringformen2019