Pals get on their bikes for charity

Carole Scott and Helen Hartness.
Carole Scott and Helen Hartness.
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FRIENDS Carole Scott and Helen Hartness are pushing pedal power to the max to raise thousands of pounds for cancer charities.

The pair will cycle 250 miles around Cuba in five days next year as part of a Women V Cancer event.

The journey is an emotional one for both women as they have each seen family members go through a cancer ordeal and they hope to raise £6,000 to be shared between Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, Breast Cancer Care and Ovarian Cancer.

Mrs Scott, of Ellington, completed a similar bike ride through India last year in tribute to her mum Mary Patterson.

In March 2011, Mrs Patterson complained of feeling unwell. Two days later investigations were carried out and the family were given the devastating news that she had Stage 4 ovarian cancer. She died just 11 months later.

Mrs Scott said: “During the ups and downs of this time I had come across a magazine advertising a challenge of a women-only cycle ride in India to raise money for Women V Cancer. After making some brief enquires I embarked on this challenge, not knowing quite what I was letting myself in for.

“It was too late for mum, but watching her suffer this dreadful disease made me want to make a difference, however small, to other people’s lives.”

With support from family, friends and colleagues at Northumberland County Council, Mrs Scott far exceeded the £2,800 sponsorship requirement for the trip to collect a staggering £5,000.

Her training went from six miles a day to 75 miles and in November the 47-year-old set off on her challenge with 89 other women.

“Every day created a different challenge and I was certainly ready for my tent at the end of the day,” she said.

“The women on the trip really supported one another, some having battled cancer themselves. Sadly, one of the ladies has just lost her battle with breast cancer.”

Mrs Hartness, 53, of Morpeth, had not been on a bike since childhood, but one day Mrs Scott tempted her out training and she too wanted to get involved.

She said: “I just did four miles that first day, but I went out every weekend with Carole after that to help her with her training for India and ended up doing 50 to 70 miles a day. I wished I had signed up for the India challenge, so now we have both signed up for Cuba.

“It will be a hard physical challenge. I know I can do 50 miles on a bike, but you have to do it again the next day and the next day and the next.

“We just want to do something about this dreadful disease and this feels like we are doing something positive.”

The duo have already collected £2,500 for the challenge in May 2014 by attending Hexham Car Boot Sale every Sunday, organising quiz nights and running raffles at Morpeth Comrades Club.

To help them further, visit www.justgiving.com/Carole-Helen