A submariner who lives in Doncaster will be very much on dry land today when he sets off on a three-day endurance cycle ride from London to Paris.
Dave Jewitt, aged 47, from Cantley, took up cycling only four years ago to get fit after spending so much time cooped up in nuclear subs.
Now he is riding 350 miles in the HotChillee Challenge and will be raising at least £700 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, after the disease claimed the life of his brother-in-law, Simon Smith.
Dave said: “Thankfully my wife, Julie, understands that when I commit to a challenge, I fully commit. Recent months have been a blur of work and training and competing in many sportives around the country.”
Dave has been in the Royal Navy for nearly 28 years after first working for British Rail.
“I initially took cycling up to keep fit following medical challenges of my own, and now cycle for Doncaster Wheelers CC and the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Cycling Association,” he said.
“With the ride being operated as a professional event, over 350 miles in three days with closed roads and Sky and Eurosport coverage, I hope to raise money and awareness for MNDA and the sufferers and families of Motor Neurone Disease, having already raised approximately £500. This is especially pertinent to me as I lost my brother in law, Simon Eric Smith, in 2007 to this terrible wasting disease.”
For most of his naval service Dave has been based in Scotland at Faslane Naval Base while living in Doncaster with Julie and their teenage son, Jonathon.
“Serving as a marine engineer on UK’s fleet of nuclear powered Vanguard Class submarines, and conducting patrols as part of NATO’s deterrent, we would be dived for months at a time. As you would expect in this environment, limited opportunities exist for any physical exercise onboard a submarine.
“Watching my weight steadily rise due to previous injuries from a road accident and time spent away at sea, I took up cycling about four years ago in order to ‘get myself sorted’.