Saddle do nicely for Nile charity ride pair

PUBLISHED: 12:00 18 January 2007 | UPDATED: 14:57 12 May 2010

Dr Caroline Russell, left, and Debra Stapleton - 2124DW11

Dr Caroline Russell, left, and Debra Stapleton - 2124DW11

A DOCTOR and practice manager from Ashwell Surgery have been busy counting their fundraising total after jumping on the saddle and completing a 408km bike ride. Dr Caroline Russell and Debra Stapleton travelled to Egypt at the end of last year to join 29

A DOCTOR and practice manager from Ashwell Surgery have been busy counting their fundraising total after jumping on the saddle and completing a 408km bike ride.

Dr Caroline Russell and Debra Stapleton travelled to Egypt at the end of last year to join 29 other cyclists to take part in the five-day River Nile Bike Ride.

And the cyclists were certainly in good hands, as the group consisted of four GPs, two pharmacists, a cardiologist, surgeon, and nurse.

Dr Russell, who is a partner at the surgery said: "There was a great variety of people on the cycle ride, and there was a wealth of medical knowledge.

"We all got to know each other very quickly, and during the week, a great sense of camaraderie developed as we went through the challenge together."

The ride took the cyclists along the banks of the River Nile, passed the Aswan Dam, and through the Valley of the Kings, in their attempt to raise funds for their chosen charity - the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Dr Russell, whose father died from a heart attack said: "The BHF does an outstanding job in helping to fight heart disease.

"It funds research, education, training, life-saving equipment, and support for heart patients.

"And the money that it gets from sponsored events is absolutely vital in keeping the good work going."

The group hoped to raise enough money to make a difference to those affected by the UK's biggest killer.

And they certainly did, as £120,000 was raised, with Dr Russell and Mrs Stapleton contributing £6,000 between them.

Dr Russell said: "This is a fabulous amount to raise, and we all felt very proud to have reached a figure that will make a huge difference.

"We were overwhelmed by people's generosity and support, and I would like to thank everyone who sponsored us.

"I'm sure that the BHF will put the money to good use."

Mrs Stapleton said: "To raise such a sum was fantastic.

"We set out to do our best and I think we did.

"It was a brilliant experience, and the sight of the sun setting over the Nile is one that everyone should see in their lifetime."

Dr Russell said her fondest memory was the downhill cycle from the Valley of the Kings across the finishing line.

She said: "It was an immense feeling of achievement when we finished, although it was tinged with some sadness that it was all over.

"Before I signed up, I was looking for something exciting to do - and this was.

"Overall, the cycling was not too difficult, and the whole thing was a wonderful experience."

Dr Russell has already signed up for her next challenge and will be trekking in the foothills of the Himalayas in support of Oxfam.

She said: "It seems I have caught the fund-raising bug.

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