Valley Girls saddle up for charity epic

Valley Girls in training for their ride across Rajasthan

Valley Girls in training for their ride across Rajasthan

First published in News Banbury Cake: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering North Oxford, Jericho and Summertown. Call me on 01865 425498

A GROUP of mothers have started their training for an adventure of a lifetime.

The 18 women from the Cherwell Valley – who call themselves the Valley Girls – are planning to cycle a whopping 470km across rural Rajasthan, India, to raise money for charity.

In the process they are leaving behind 12 husbands, one fiance, one boyfriend and 34 children.

They will leave in February 2015 and aim to raise a total of £40,000, split between the British Heart Foundation, Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Charitable Fund, Vasculitis UK and Southampton Hospital Charity.

Lower Heyford mother-of-two Emma Read said: “It is going to be a real adventure and a real physical challenge.

“We are all very close and all of our children have grown up together so there is a real camaraderie.

“I have also been to India myself about 30 years ago, so I can’t wait to go back to see how it has changed.”

The idea came to them after one of the women had to abandon a planned ride in Cuba when she became pregnant, but still wanted to do one to get fit.

Some of the women have cycled long distances before, Mrs Read said, but for many it would be a fresh challenge.

The 53-year-old said: “We are all doing it for different reasons, for fun or fitness aspects, but it just seemed like a wonderful thing to do as it also raises money for charity.

“The training has already started and so people will see us riding around in our Valley Girls shirts. I think we are all up for it. Quite a few of us recently did a 45-mile ride around the Cotswolds and that went well.”

Each of the charities all hold personal significance for the women.

The British Heart Foundation is being supported by Mrs Read and her two children, Chris, 18, and Charlotte, 15.

Mrs Read’s husband George passed away 10 years ago after suffering a heart attack.

She said: “That is one reason why it has been chosen, but they are all personal to us. It’s a bit like a role reversal really.

“Most of us are getting to that age where our children have grown older and a bit more independent so we can go and do things without them.’’ The Valley Girls will be holding fundraising events throughout the summer and they are also asking for donations through the website Justgiving.com

For more information visit virginmoneygiving.com/team/ValleyGirlsCycle2015

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