A FATHER and keen cyclist is taking on a mammoth mission to raise money to get a swimming pool open again for the community to use.

Mike Copping is aiming to cycle the height of Everest – 300km – by riding up and down Faccombe Hill for more than 20 hours.

The 41-year-old has set himself the challenge to raise money for the Whitchurch Community Swimming Pool.

He said: “I started a small business three and a half years ago, as a bike mechanic, and it is the local community that took me to heart, so this is a perfect way to give back.”

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Basingstoke Gazette: Mike Copping is raising money the Whitchurch Community Swimming PoolThe swimming pool, which was originally constructed in 1964 for Whitchurch Secondary Modern, was closed in 2019 due to Covid and has not reopened.

Following a lengthy campaign, the community is now engaged in bringing it back into operation.

“It is an amazing community project; the swimming pool was community funded in the first place, it is a shame that it was let go, it is a shame to lose something that is integral to the community,” Mike said.

“I am just a guy with a bike who wants to get it back up and running.”

Mike, who is a stay-at-home dad to five-year-old Poppy and two-year-old Arno, has been training at weekends and evenings.

He thanked his wife Victoria for her support, adding: “She just thinks I’m mad, it is not the first time she has thought that. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have the time to go out and do all this.”

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Mike, the owner of Spoke Mechanic, has come from a strong swimming background as his mum, dad and sister all swam competitively, but he has always had a passion for cycling.

“I built my first bike when I was 14 years old, and I’ve grown up on mountain bikes – it’s such a great thing to do.

“I have never cycled more than seven and half hours in one go and never broken 200km.”

He will take on the challenge on Saturday, June 15, and will be starting at midnight.   

Mike said: “It is roughly 120 repetitions of the hill which should give me the distance that I need.”

Fortunately, he will have plenty of support, with a great response from the community and the Andover Triathlon Club coming out to ride alongside him.

To donate to Mike’s ‘Everesting’ attempt, go to gofundme.com/f/cycle-to-save-a-pool.

For more information about the swimming pool campaign, visit at csp.org.uk