A FENSTANTON widow, who sets out on a gruelling 300-mile cycle ride from London to Paris in two weeks time, looks set to raise twice as much for charity as she expected. Mother-of-two Julia Mitchell, 58, pictured, will be riding the bicycle she was given
A FENSTANTON widow, who sets out on a gruelling 300-mile cycle ride from London to Paris in two weeks' time, looks set to raise twice as much for charity as she expected.
Mother-of-two Julia Mitchell, 58, pictured, will be riding the bicycle she was given by her husband Pete, who worked for the Papworth Trust, the Christmas before he died of cancer three years ago. She also lost her mother and a close friend to the disease soon afterwards.
She had hoped to raise £1,500 for the Institute of Cancer Research, but her sponsorship is already nearing £2,500, with promises of more. She hopes to have pledges totalling £3,000 by the time she leaves on June 13.
"The first day will be the worst - 80 miles through Kent, which is very hilly, then the ferry to Calais," she said.
"Then we use mainly country roads, with overnight stops at Abbeville and Beauvais before finishing at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. That's a bit over 300 miles in four days, which is much further than I've cycled before. But I have been practising. I cycled to London the other week, and I've been doing 100 miles most weekends.
"Cycling is something I love doing, and I thought I could raise money for research. Everybody has been brilliant in sponsoring me, though half of them think I'm mad," added Julia, a haemophilia clinical nursing specialist, based at St Thomas's Hospital in London and working in the community.
She is one of 130 people taking part in an organised trip that starts in Greenwich in Wednesday's morning peak-hour traffic in a fortnight's time.
Tired and saddle-sore, she and fellow riders will have Sunday free in the French capital while the organisers ship their machines back to London.
They return on Eurostar's cushions to be re-united with their bikes at London's Waterloo station. "I shall not be cycling home from there," she said emphatically.
"I've paid for the trip myself, so every penny I raise will go to the charity," she added.
INFORMATION: To sponsor Julia go to http://www.justgiving.com/juliamitchell