Battersea teenager could become youngest person to cycle around the world
A British teenager may become the youngest ever person to cycle around the world when he completes the final leg of his epic 18,000-mile journey.
Tom Davies, 19, has fled monkeys, been chased by dogs in Albania, and raced an emu in Australia, and after six-and-a-half months in the saddle he is heading into the home straight.
Battling wind, rain and snow, he has notched up 100 miles of cycling a day to complete his trip, and raised nearly £50,000 for charities.
His mother Alison said she and her husband Huw, a QC in commercial law, spent more than a few moments worrying about their son, but are immensely proud of what he has achieved.
She told the Press Association: "He had a few hairy moments, like being chased by dogs in Albania. He recovered from it OK, although I think his heart was pounding a bit.
"There was a very special moment when he found himself riding alongside an emu in Australia. The emu was right next to him and running parallel.
"It certainly is not just any gap year.
"We are incredibly proud. It feels a bit surreal, Tom certainly feels it is surreal."
Tom, who is from Battersea in south London and plans to study materials engineering at Loughborough University later this year, is cycling the final leg from Poole to London on Sunday where he will be greeted by around 100 friends and family.
He spent years planning his journey, and while the Guinness Book of Records have not verified that he is the youngest ever person to complete the trip, it is believed he could be.
And he has so far raised £47,820 - nearly his target of £50,000 - towards charities.
The money will go to Prostate Cancer UK¸ Carney's Community, which works with disadvantaged young people, and the Sohana Research Fund, set up to support Sohana Collins, 13, who suffers from Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa, or RDEB.
Nicknamed the Butterfly Disease, this is an incurable and often fatal illness which causes the skin to badly blister.
Sohana's and Tom's families are friends, and Mrs Davies said he is passionate about raising money for a cause so close to home.
Tom said: "The trip has been amazing, but I didn't really know what to expect heading into it. It has been incredible to see the countries and experience the different cultures in this way, whilst also pushing myself harder than I ever thought possible.
"I have been overwhelmed by the hospitality of people all around the world which is something I didn't necessarily expect but has made it much more rewarding. I am delighted that the three charities will benefit from my trip, and cannot express how grateful I am for all the support from my family, friends and almost everyone who has heard about it.
"The last seven months have been very intense and I am looking forward to a few weeks off before heading to university."
To donate visit his Just Giving page.