THE memory of a young man who died aged just 29 spurred on a mother of four to complete a London to Paris bike ride despite feeling unwell.

Penny Gibbons, a disability project worker from West Quantoxhead, raised £5,770 for the Henry Bissell Spinal Fund at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton through the three-day ride.

Henry Bissell grew up with Penny’s children and the families have been friends since the parents met as teenagers at Williton Young Farmers Club.

Medics tried to discourage Penny from continuing with the ride as she was feeling under the weather but she ploughed on.

She said: “I wasn’t very well on the weekend that we did it, so it was harder work than we thought. It’s a real feeling of achievement to have completed the challenge.”

The day after crossing the finish line, Penny lit a candle in Henry’s memory in the cathedral of Notre Dame in the French capital.

Paul Thorpe, consultant spinal surgeon at Musgrove, said: “We are very grateful for this amazing donation of £5,770.

“The spinal fund goes on equipment, training and research projects, so we will make sure the money is well spent.”

Penny is still collecting donations on behalf of the Henry Bissell Spinal Fund – to support her continued efforts, contact her via or on 0759-5071680.