He was an air traffic controller for the RAF, stationed in Germany during the 1980s, and has spent the past four years as a mentor for Wigan homelessness and poverty charity The Brick, helping people to learn a range of skills from joinery through to raising confidence.
Wanting to make even more of a difference for the people he supports, Colin was inspired to take on the challenge after reading the Colditz-Prisoners of the Castle novel and playing the family favourite Escape from Colditz board game.
He said: “I have lived in Wigan for 33 years and I want to give back to The Brick and the wider community by taking on this challenge. The tenacity and courage of those who attempted to escape from Colditz during World War Two is inspirational, and I want to really push myself in this challenge by aiming to cycle the 600 miles in a week, totally unsupported and sleeping wild like those who took on the same journey nearly 80 years ago.”
After an audacious escape from the prison castle Colditz, French man Pierre Mairesse-Lebrun stole a bicycle and cycled nearly 600 miles through enemy territory to reach safety in Ramsen, Switzerland.
Nineteen prisoners eventually travelled this route to facilitate their escape, which became known as the Singen route.
Colin will replicate the journey by travelling to Germany to stay in the castle, which is now a youth hostel, before making his way alone on an old-style bicycle to Switzerland.
He said: “I have chosen to raise money for The Brick as it is a charity that is very close to my heart. I have worked and volunteered here for three-and-a-half years and I have seen first-hand the positive impact it makes in the local community. The Brick is an amazing charity and its life-affirming to work with such caring people who do a wonderful job providing the variety of services they do for people in difficult circumstances.
“I am looking forward to raising as much money as possible to give back to The Brick and to the Wigan and Leigh community.”
Keely Dalfen, CEO at The Brick, said: “Colin has volunteered and worked for us at The Brick for nearly four years and in this time, he has really made a difference to the lives of many of the people we work with.
“The Colditz Challenge is unique and truly amazing, and we are delighted that Colin is raising money for The Brick this way. We all wish him the best of luck and we are very proud of Colin for taking on something that is so challenging, to give back to our community.”