Living life to the full
Greg Shipton made a promise to an inspirational young woman before she died - that he would accomplish a life-long dream.
So last month the Glendowie man set off by bike from Cape Reinga to Bluff with the aim of raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Association of New Zealand's Breath4CF fund.
A family friend, St Kentigern College student Makenzie Perry, died in June last year at just 16 years old due to the effects of cystic fibrosis.
When Shipton finally steps off his bike after 3000 kilometres, 100 days in the saddle and countless tyre punctures, he will have fulfilled his promise to Makenzie.
"You couldn't help but be inspired by her," he says.
"She was an incredible young lady - always challenging people to stop making excuses and get on and live life doing what they really want to do."
The 52-year-old will cover the length of New Zealand, splitting the distance into four stages over the next 18 months. That is no mean feat for an "old fella" who hasn't done more than a bit of social cycling since his early 20s.
It was also Makenzie who encouraged Shipton to try his hand at becoming New Zealand's next MasterChef.
"But riding across New Zealand by bike has always been a dream of mine and it seems like the best way to honour her legacy," he says.
Shipton completed the first leg of the trip, from Cape Reinga to Auckland, on March 19.
He was joined at the last minute by his best friend Greg Penman from Sydney.
The pair were amazed by the generosity of people they met along the way after sharing Makenzie's story.
Locals put on a hangi, offered up free accommodation and handed over their spare change.
Shipton has raised more than $1400 so far.
His wife Catherine hopes to join the next leg of the ride from Auckland to Taumarunui on April 18.
"This ride is bringing us all together," she says.
"Makenzie's legacy is having a positive effect in so many more ways than we had imagined."
Go to fundraiseonline.co.nz/GregShipton to donate.
- East And Bays Courier
Are our classrooms becoming overcrowded?