Challenge of a lifetime

Thursday 31 July 2008

A member of staff from the University of St Andrews is undertaking the challenge of a lifetime in memory of his ‘inspirational’ niece.

Stephen King, a technician in the University’s Photonics Innovation Centre, is currently en route from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

A keen cyclist, Stephen has often contemplated the journey of almost one thousand miles.  Last year when his niece Zoë was ill, he made up his mind to do it for her.

Stephen said, “I have thought about the Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle from time to time then it would disappear as I would build up excuses in front of it.  It came to mind again last year when Zoë was ill.

“I plan to do the journey in seven days from Saturday 26th July to Saturday 2nd August.  It will be on my own, with changes of kit being picked up and posted back as I go.  This means that I can use a fairly light bike and hopefully keep up a good average speed.”

Stephen’s niece, Zoë King was diagnosed with cancer, aged just 14, and refused to let it get her down.  She lost her fight with cancer on Wednesday 12th September, 2007, just days before her 18th birthday.  But, throughout the three-year period, Zoë was never beaten.

A positive, upbeat, schoolgirl, Zoë supported the Teenage Cancer Trust in a bid to see better facilities in Edinburgh for teenagers fighting cancer.  In April 2007 she helped organise a fundraising fashion show for the trust – and was one of its star models.  She wowed the audience with her positive attitude and turned heads in her variety of wigs.

Stephen continued, “Even though she was going through a lot of treatments Zoë still found the energy to fight her corner for teenagers with cancer.  She was a wonderful person and it will be an honour to help in something she cared about so much.”

At nearly 1,000 miles, this test of endurance will be the biggest sporting challenge that Stephen has faced.

He explained, “The target most days will be 130 miles.  I am choosing an East of the Pennines route which means I will be able to come through St Andrews and Dundee on my way up.

“This is from a person that wasn’t very sporty at all for a long time.  Before coming to St Andrews I worked at the City University in London for ten years which was where I became passionate about cycling – to avoid the traffic!”

A keen member of the Dundee Thistle Cycling Club, Stephen helps run yearly events and has been involved in starting a youth cycling academy in Dundee, which hopes to produce competitors for the 2012 London Olympics.

“Following my relocation 400 miles North in 1998, I soon discovered some of the best cycling roads in the country.  One of my favourite routes is from Dundee to St Andrews via Tayport.

“People that don’t cycle much think that it’s a long way, but they would be surprised how the miles go by once you get used to it, and you see so much more when you are cycling.  I hope the same is true for this journey!”



Stephen King is available for interview via the Press Office – contacts below.



To contribute, visit and mention Stephen’s “End 2 End” cycle trip in the comments section.




For further details on The Teenage Cancer trust visit     





Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Fiona Armstrong, Press Officer on 01334 462530 / 462529, Mobile: 07730 415 015 or Email: [email protected]
Ref: cycle challenge 29/07/08
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