A MONMOUTHSHIRE cyclist is challenging himself to cycle around the Irish perimeter solo in September to raise money for charity.

Hugh Tamlyn from Abergavenny is hoping to raise £15,000 to fund 100 surgeries for Operation Smile- a charity which provides surgery and support to children born with cleft lip and palate.

Hugh started raising money for Operation Smile five years ago with a short bike ride around the Brecon Beacons but he quickly decided he could be taking his challenges to the next level and decided on cycling the Irish perimeter was the next step.

He said: “I am looking to do about 100 miles a day for two weeks. I hope to finish on World Smile Day at the Operation Smile office in Dublin on October 6.  

“I get moments now where I’m like, crikey, I’ve got to cycle a bike for two weeks every day, which is not something I’ve ever done before. But, I start thinking what are the steps that I need to do, what are the plans I need to make to do that, and gradually work at that I get more and more comfortable with the whole thing as we get closer to the event.  

Hugh explains how being born with cleft lip and palate has motivated him to take on the challenge that begins on Thursday, September 21.

“I was born with cleft lip and palate over 35 years ago and I suppose as I got older and more cognisant of the charity does, I felt that I should contribute in some way.

“Having the condition myself, for a number of years it was almost something I didn’t talk about. Then, there was a moment somewhere in my late 20s where I was a lot more accepting of the fact that this is the condition that I had.

“Along with that came the sense that maybe I could do more to help people in the same scenario or situation. That was probably a watershed moment in terms of almost taking ownership of the fact that I was born with a condition, and I could do something to try and help other people with that. I’ve always been interested in the grand adventures of things and coupling that with Operation Smile, the challenge made sense.

“Although, for me growing up, I didn’t really ever meet many people with the condition when I think back to my childhood - it felt isolating. Now I find parents come to me if their child is born with the condition. I don’t think there was a support structure was in place 30 to 40 years ago. When I was born, my father had never even heard of the condition and the kind of panic that sets in.

“It’s a different story in the third world and that’s partly what prompted me to do the work, because I know Operation Smile focuses on developing countries.”

You can follow Hugh on Instagram, @hughtamlyn and Tiktok, @hughtamlyn. Or donate to his JustGiving page- Beacon Search’s 100 Smiles in 2023 - JustGiving