A 98-year-old woman has raised thousands of pounds for charity by cycling more than 500 miles for 80 days.
In an effort worthy of the late Sir Captain Tom Moore, Diana O’Flynn from Ottery St Mary, Devon, has taken on an ‘Around the Sitting Room in 80 Days’ challenge, which has seen her cycling on an exercise bike from her armchair every day for more than two months.
The great-great-grandmother likes to keep active and was starting to get frustrated with lockdown, so she asked her family for a recumbent static bike.
Not content to pedal for fun, she set herself a tricky target of cycling every day for 80 days, from the comfort of her own lounge.
The retired teacher said tucking a hot water bottle behind her back and watching TV programmes about wildlife and nature kept her going from April 12 to June 30.
After pedalling for at least half an hour a day, and clocking up an impressive total of 560 miles, the determined pensioner succeeded in her challenge, raising more than £4,000 for charity West London Mission (WLM) – set up in 1887 by Diana’s own great-grandmother, Katherine Price Hughes.
WLM provides a range of services empowering people affected by homelessness, poverty and trauma to make positive changes in their lives.
WLM Katherine Price Hughes is one of the six services that WLM delivers and it is specially designed to help those leaving prison to make their transition back to the community in the best possible way.
"I think quite a lot of keeping active is in the mind, but the body’s got to tag along too," O'Flynn says.
“I feel very lucky that I’m able to do it. I think you’ve just got to fight it. Once you just sit in a chair and don’t do anything you’re on the way out.
“As soon as you believe you can’t walk a mile then you won’t.It’s really important to keep moving."
Watch: Disabled boy inspired by 'Captain Tom' defies medical predictions to complete charity walk.
Commenting on how she managed to stick to the challenge, she added: “It’s a long time to commit to cycling everyday, but I’ve very much enjoyed doing it.
“I’m very lucky I’ve found a way of combining cycling, which is good for me, with watching TV, which I enjoy, and it’s raising money for a charity I believe in."
O'Flynn says one of the keys to completing a challenge is setting yourself an achievable goal.
“You always have to have a target ahead of you then you can keep achieving things," she explains.
Though she walks a mile three times a week and touches her toes 12 times a day, O'Flynn says she didn't overhaul her diet to help complete the challenge.
“I don’t eat terribly well but I’m very lucky because I’m fit," she admits.
“I have a lot of cheese, every day, and I love meringues, but vegetables are too much like hard work.”
O'Flynn and her late husband Paddy had four children, and she has nine grand children, three great grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren.
For more information about O'Flynn's challenge or to donate go to www.gofundme.com/f/around-the-sitting-room-in-80-days
You can also keep up with the challenge on Instagram: aroundthesittingroomin80days
Additional reporting SWNS.