A military dog handler who suffers from chronic pain syndrome in his lower back has taken on a mammoth challenge by cycling more than 500 miles while entertaining fellow cyclists with his singing skills.
When he was on Op Herrick 19, former veterinary technician and vehicle search dog handler Patrick Medhurst-Feeney suffered from a recurring back injury which caused him to lose all the strength in his lower back. He was medically discharged from the British Army in 2016.
Starting at Edinburgh Castle, Patrick and another Army veteran, Laura Ellis, traveled 522 miles on recumbent bicycles to Exeter over 10 days visiting places including Penrith, Lancaster, Shrewsbury, Worcester and Bridgewater.
Patrick's recovery was greatly aided by the wonderful teams at Help For Heroes, but also lesser known charity, Veterans With Dogs, who train Assistance Dogs for British ex-servicemen and women with service-related mental health conditions. The former vet technician wanted to take on this mammoth challenge to give back to the charities who helped put him on a path to recovery.
“They’re a fairly small charity with a national reach. They’ve got a huge waiting list at the minute and funding is a massive problem for them.”
“They’re doing such amazing work and still managing to get these dogs qualified and get them through so the guys can actually try and live some sort of a normal life after service.”
Forces Radio BFBS' Amy Casey offered to create a mix tape for Patrick's next challenge after he explained how important music was to getting him through each day. Patrick had some great song requests.
"You've got to slip in a few things like... a bit of Justin Timberlake. There's nothing wrong with a bit of JT."
"I was cycling on one of the routes totally in my own world singing 'Sexy Back' and a cyclist came up from behind me and was like 'you alright mate?', 'I'm fine, don't worry about me. Bringing sexy back, yup."
Patrick's greatest achievement on his Trike Tour wasn't to be sniffed at. Cycling to the top of Shap, one of the biggest hills in Lancashire, somehow made the rest of his journey easier. However, it wasn't all plain sailing:
"There were words exchanged with the mountain and the hand bike going up that (mountain) but I think that will stay between me and the mountain."
The last two hours of the trike tour were incredibly wet which made the bike ride incredibly dangerous at times.
“It was lovely when I started but the last two hours I think it probably dumped ten days’ worth of rain on me. Got to the end, done it, finished. We live in Britain so rain comes with the territory unfortunately.”
After the interview Amy commented on the generosity of the people who have already donated, many of whom are veterans themselves.
“I’m always blown away by the generosity and HUGE big hearts of our forces family round the world. People dig deep for our vets every time, overwhelming kindness.”
To help Patrick reach his £6,000 target you can donate here > https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/thetriketour17