Swansea man to cycle 10,000km around British Isles coastline for charity

A man from Swansea is undertaking a 10,000km (6,214 mile) cycle ride around the British Isles coastline to raise money for three charities.

Jean-Louis Button, 28, has set himself the target to complete the challenge before September, after he began the ride on June 22.

Mr Button has so far travelled 3,517km (2,185 miles) and is planning for his route to take him across the Scottish Highlands and Islands, the eastern coast passing Newcastle, Skegness and Cromer, and the south coast from Kent across to Land’s End, before cycling around Ireland’s shores.

He said: “I decided on a whim that this summer I wanted to push my physical and mental boundaries for three charities by cycling further than I ever have before to say thank you for the incredible work that they do.

“I chose each charity because they help causes I feel strongly about.”

Jean-Louis Button is aiming to complete the challenge before September (Jean-Louis Button/PA)
Jean-Louis Button is aiming to complete the challenge before September (Jean-Louis Button/PA)

Along with two charities that provide food and water for vulnerable people across India and Africa – The Akshaya Patra Foundation and Water for Kids – Mr Button was inspired to donate to Cats Protection’s Swansea branch after taking in a stray cat during lockdown.

Stray Jess is thought to be around 18 years old, and is now in temporary foster care while looking for a forever home; Mr Button could not adopt her himself due to the long cycling trip.

He said: “I chose Cats Protection because I was personally hit pretty hard with mental health issues during lockdown, along with so many others, and luckily at just the right moment a beautiful feline crept through my door and woke me up with her gentle purr.

“Over eight or nine weeks we became incredibly close companions for one another and because of the amount of love, happiness and comfort she brought me, I felt the desire to give back and help one of the UK’s largest cat welfare charities.

“I honestly don’t know how I would have coped without Jess’s loving company.”

Jean-Louis Button is raising money for three charities including Cats Protection’s Swansea branch (Jean-Louis Button/PA)
Jean-Louis Button is raising money for three charities including Cats Protection’s Swansea branch (Jean-Louis Button/PA)

Mr Button has previously run marathons and ultra-marathons for charity, as well as cycling 1,000km across the Netherlands in flip-flops to raise money for the islanders of Sint Maarten after Hurricane Irma.

Mandy Armstrong, a volunteer for Cats Protection’s Swansea Branch, said: “We were so surprised and delighted that Jean-Louis chose our branch to benefit from his amazing journey.

“His friendship with Jess is a real tribute to what wonderful companions cats can be and how they enrich our lives in so many ways.

“We’re enjoying following Jean-Louis’ journey and will be cheering him along as he travels our beautiful coastline.”

To see donations to Mr Button’s three chosen charities, visit his fundraising page at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/UKtour