Retired vet Graham Duncanson is celebrating 50 years in the profession by cycling over 8,000km from the UK to South Africa to raise money for the British Veterinary Association's charity, the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF).

Graham, 72, who worked at Westover Veterinary Centre in Norfolk for 40 years, set off on his bike from his home in Crostwick last week (4 June). Graham, who is a trustee of AWF, aims to complete his journey in two years, following a route that will take him through Western Europe and into Greece before flying to Ethiopia and cycling through Kenya, where Graham spent eight years as a government veterinary officer in his early career. He will then follow the Indian Ocean down the African continent's east coast to Cape Town.

Graham is raising money for AWF, a charity set up by a group of vets just over 30 years ago to improve the welfare of animals. Today the charity funds research, supports veterinary education, provides pet care advice and encourages veterinary and public debate on animal welfare issues.

Graham said: “I’m no stranger to life on the road – my first job on qualifying was as a field vet in Kenya which I did for eight years. This will be a real adventure though as I am definitely not an accomplished cyclist, however I look forward to the challenge and to raising money for AWF. The route may change slightly as the trip goes along, but that’s down more to government travel advice than my decision - for example, although not currently on my route, I would still like to cycle through Egypt to give a lecture or two, however we’ll need to see what’s possible.”

Graham cycled via London to join the annual AWF Discussion Forum in Westminster, attended by other vets, parliamentarians and key stakeholders from the sector, before continuing his cycle to the English south coast with TV vet Emma Milne. Along the way Graham will also be working with equine charitable organisations including the Brooke, SPANA and World Horse Welfare, giving equine welfare and dentistry talks, as well as occasionally returning to the UK to lecture and attend AWF Trustee meetings.

If you would like to sponsor Graham and donate to AWF, or simply find out more about his trip through his regular blog posts, please visit vetduncdares.wordpress.com.