Pedal power reunites Peter with German friend

LONG-DISTANCE VISITOR: Peter Matchan, left, in his room at Fernill with Nicolas Guenther.
LONG-DISTANCE VISITOR: Peter Matchan, left, in his room at Fernill with Nicolas Guenther.

A big-hearted German businessman cycled 1,400 km in a week to arrive at Fernhill in Longham, Dorset, and thank the mentor who inspired him as a young student.

Nicolas Guenther, who was 19 when he first met Peter Matchan, raised more than £2,000 for Parkinson’s UK by completing the journey all the way from Munich.

He decided to try the gruelling personal challenge after hearing that Peter, now 79, is living with Parkinson’s.

Nicolas, 41, spent time with Peter and his family while he was staying in Havant and attending a course at Chichester College.

The pair shared a keen sense of humour and struck up a friendship with Peter, then running an advertising agency, helping Nicolas to learn English and understand some of the finer points of British culture.

Nicolas said: “Peter is an inspiring man who made a big impression on my life. When I learned he had Parkinson’s I wanted to do some good by coming to see him again and help the Parkinson’s charity at the same time.”

There was eager anticipation at Fernhill as Peter’s daughter Lyn Place, granddaughter Anna and staff members tracked Nicolas’s progress online ahead of his arrival.

Lyn said: “It was lovely to see Nicolas and dad shake hands once again and spend a bit more time together.”

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