A FOREST man braved torrential rain and 40 mph winds to cycle from Ross-on-Wye to Crickhowell - and back again - to raise money for Children in Need.

Father-of-two Mark Dix, who works as a project manager for Network Rail, took on the mammoth 50-mile circular cycle through the Brecon Beacons in wet and cold conditions on Friday (November 18).

So far, the 58 year-old has already beaten his fundraising target of £500 and is “thrilled” with the support he has received, with donations still coming in.

Fitness fanatic Mark is no stranger to completing gruelling physical challenges for the charity, which funds thousands of projects that support disadvantaged young people in the UK every year.

The former commissioned officer in the British Army raised £1,500 in 2021 by cycling a “less challenging” route through the Brecon Beacons, and £1,000 the year before with a 120-mile cycle from Twickenham to Bath.

Mark had hoped the weather would be on his side on the day of his latest challenge, dubbed ‘Pedal for Pudsey’, but he unfortunately had no such luck.

The conditions did little to deter him from completing the cycle, though, via the challenging Gospel Pass, which reaches 549 metres at its highest point.

The route was rounded off with a return trip to Ross through Talgarth and Talybont-on-Usk.

Mark said: “The cycle itself was challenging with very cold, wet and windy conditions – with gusts reaching up to 40 miles per hour.

“The heavy rain caused rivers of water to run down the Gospel Pass, which added to the challenge but also made it fun.” 

He said of his decision to support Children in Need: “I really look forward, each year, to raising money for Children in Need, as it’s a cause I really believe in.

“Every child deserves a safe, happy and secure childhood, regardless of where their story begins.

“I believe that children are the future of our society, and we should all do as much as we can to invest in them.”

Mark is still collecting donations from sponsors of the challenge through his JustGiving page, www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mark-dix. 

He added: “I’m thrilled with the support I’ve received from my friends, family, colleagues and even strangers who’ve helped me exceed my fundraising target, with generous donations still coming. Thank you.”