Why £30k is riding on Fiona’s charity challenge

All geared up: Fiona Bell (left) and Dorne Richardson in training for their Vietnam charity challenge

All geared up: Fiona Bell (left) and Dorne Richardson in training for their Vietnam charity challenge

Following a huge fundraising effort, Cumbria holiday park director Fiona Bell now has almost £30,000 riding on her success in a gruelling cycle challenge this month (February).

Fiona, aged 55, will be taking part with her friend Dorne Richardson, aged 52, in a six-day ride through Vietnam and Cambodia on behalf of three women’s cancer charities.

The couple will start in Ho Chi Minh City and cover around 450km of trails, both on and off road in remote and often high level terrain.

Fiona is a director of Park Foot Caravan and Camping Park in Pooley Bridge near Penrith, and Dorne is a farmer from the village of Dufton.

They have already received sponsorship of over £27,000, largely the result of a glittering charity ball at Park Foot’s clubhouse attended by hundreds of guests.

Many local businesses supported the event with thousands of pounds’ worth of prizes ranging from a quad bike and boat trips to restaurant meals and a luxury holiday.

Now Fiona and Dorne are continuing to keep up the fundraising pressure before flying out to Vietnam later in the month to take on the daunting trek.

Fiona admits that until recently her cycling days were largely left behind in childhood, but in recent months she has been trying to make up for lost time.

She has set herself a target of pedalling up to 50km a day on steeply undulating roads and tracks around her family’s holiday park in Pooley Bridge.

Park Foot is run by Fiona and her sister Barbara Allen, plus Fiona’s husband Malcolm; both are daughters of Jimmy Allen who founded the park more than six decades ago, along with.

Originally a farm, Park Foot first started welcoming campers in the early 1950s. Now it has around 130 caravan holiday homes spread throughout the 40-acre grounds, and 400 touring pitches.

The amount that Fiona and Dorne raise will be divided equally between Breast Cancer Care, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, and Ovarian Cancer Action.

“We’ve been amazed at the number of people who have come forward to support our challenge, and to give us their best wishes for our success,” said Fiona.

“I think we now owe it to everyone to give this our best shot, even though neither of us have ever taken on anything at all like this before.

“The training is tough, but each day we become even more determined to put every one of those kilometres behind us once we reach Vietnam,” she added.

Fiona is still able to receive donations via Just Giving at  www.justgiving.com/Fiona-Bell10

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