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Sultan sailor prepares for Prudential RideLondon-100

18 July 2016
Chief Petty Officer Marine Engineering Mechanic Submariner Paul Whitaker, 54, is preparing to join over 25,000 cyclists in a 100 mile ride in order to raise money for the charity Ovarian Cancer Action.

Currently employed as a Divisional Officer within the Defence College of Technical Training’s Defence School of Marine Engineering, HMS Sultan, Paul is responsible for supporting the Royal Navy’s bright young recruits through their 30 weeks of study on the Engineering Technician Initial Career Course (ETICC).

On Sunday 31st July, Paul will take a break from normal life and attempt to complete the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, a 100 mile closed road circuit starting at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and riding into Surrey and back, finishing on The Mall.

Paul joined the Royal Navy in November 1979, during his long and varied career he has served on many navy Submarines including HMS Courageous, Vigilant, Superb, Torbay, Turbulent. 

You are never too old to start something new and getting into cycling again has allowed me to set personnel goals

Chief Petty Officer Paul Whitaker

He cites time spent in San Diego with the crew of HMS Courageous as one of the highlights of his career so far. 

Originally from Harrogate, Paul’s parents Elizabeth and Peter still live in the region in nearby York.

He now lives in Lee-on-the-Solent and is married to Cheryl the inspiration for the ride.

Talking about the challenge ahead Paul said: “Cheryl started it all going when she entered the Ride The Night 100km in London in 2015 raising money for Ovarian Cancer Action.”

“She said I should get involved, so I applied to take part in the Man Power challenge, unfortunately, although it was a 5 day ride from Glasgow to London, I could only join in on the last day from Oxford to London, though I really enjoyed every mile and learnt so much about Road cycling etiquette.”

“Thanks to the support of Ovarian Cancer Action I got a place to represent the Charity in the Prudential RideLondon 100.

“I have completed weekly training rides and feel I am now ready to pedal this old submariner on my bike round the 100 mile course. Hopefully Cheryl will be on The Mall a few hours later to welcome me back.” 

Paul has been awarded a number of medals during his career in the Royal Navy.

These include a South Atlantic Medal and both the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals.

Additionally he was awarded a Long Service and Good Conduct Medal and Clasp, both together are only presented to personnel completing over 30 years exemplary service.

Despite all of Paul’s career success, he is still enjoying the buzz that a new challenge brings, he said: “You are never too old to start something new and getting into cycling again has allowed me to set personnel goals and enjoy every minute and second outdoors.

“We are only on this Earth for a short time and I would encourage everyone to enjoy it and always love that special person in your life.”

If you would like to sponsor Paul, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Paul-Whitaker-Submariner2

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