TWO friends are in training for a four-day 400-mile charity cycle ride from London to Paris.
Probation officers Gemma Clemson-Ford, 35, and Hollie Krause, 30, who works in Littlehampton, are hoping to have raised more than £3,000 for the British Heart Foundation by the time they set off from Crystal Palace on July 9.
Gemma’s mum, Helen Adams, died from a ‘massive’ heart-attack aged 38, when Gemma was just 17. This year marks the 17th anniversary of her death and Gemma, of Lancing, felt the bike ride was a good way of commemorating her mum.
She said: “It’s really important we raise awareness. It’s an illness that affects a lot of people. She picked me up from work one day and within an hour she died, it was really sudden.
“All the money feeds into research into medicines for early detection sudden infant death syndrome and stuff like that.”
She added that her mum ‘loved the museums, atmosphere and the romance of Paris’.
Hollie wanted to back the charity as it promotes living a healthy lifestyle.
She has lost eight-and-a-half stone in the last four years during which time she trained as a spinning instructor and been told by a doctor she has added up to 20 years onto her life expectancy.
She said: “For me, it’s about proving you can make massive changes to your life and keep going really. It’s nice to have found someone who has got a different reason for doing it as well. This is huge, every time I can’t do this I remember physically I can do it now.”
The pair completed the 50-mile London to Brighton cycle ride last year for the BHF.
Gemma said: “I was in a lot of pain afterwards, I had to have a day off work. I didn’t do any training, but I have been training since January this time. I’m on the bike all the time, it’s permanently attached to me. At the moment, I’m aiming for 25 miles a day with one rest day a week. Hollie is doing four or five spin classes a week and has trained as a spin instructor in her spare time.”
Each entrant into the cycle ride needs to raise a minimum of £1,400 to take part. So far, Gemma and Hollie have raised £2,600 between them.
The pair are holding a fundraising event at the Liming restaurant, in New Street, Worthing, on June 27 at 7pm. They have been supported by the Cloud Gallery and lots of artists, including Louise Dear.
Tickets are £12 per person and include a buffet and glass of fizz on arrival.
Their previous fundraising event in January, also held at the Liming, raised more than £1,000.
Gemma said: “We’ve had lots of support from family, friends and businesses. The response has been phenomenal really.”
To donate, see www.justgiving.com/Gemma-Hollie