Released On 8th Jan 2020

66-year-old Annie Marshall from Butleigh near Glastonbury, a listening volunteer with Samaritans Yeovil, Sherborne & District, is gearing up to undertake a 350-mile cycle ride to raise funds for the branch. 

The Samaritans Heritage Bike Ride, organised by the national Samaritans charity, will take place from the 16th to 21st May 2020.  Starting out in London, the participants will cycle through some of the UK’s most celebrated countryside, stopping off at various cities on route including Colchester, Cambridge, King’s Lynn, Hull & York. 

Annie has always loved cycling.  Since she first started out on her red trike, aged three, she hasn’t looked back.  ‘The minute I get on a bike, I experience a huge sense of wellbeing and freedom.’

Neither is she a stranger to distance cycling, having achieved several feats on her trusty two wheeler including a charity ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats for which she raised £2,000 for Mind in 2016 and a marathon ride from Butleigh to Tuscany via Marseille and Corsica in 2017. 

This latest ride, though less overall mileage than she has achieved in the past, does present some challenges: ‘I normally cycle with my husband.  We spur each other on and bounce off each other.  But this time I’m going solo.  It also has several consecutive days with high mileage and usually the pace is more varied.  But what’s different about this one, and what I’m really looking forward to most, is being able to meet fellow Samaritans in the stop- off cities along the way.’

Annie is already in full training for April, despite the wintry weather.  ‘I try to be out on the bike three times a week and do at least one ride of 40 miles.  I’ll also be exercising in other ways – mainly swimming and walking.’

Annie is delighted to be raising money for her local branch of Samaritans, where she has been a listening volunteer for two years.  ‘Becoming a Samaritan has been an amazing thing to do in retirement.  I’ve always been an active person and didn’t just want to disappear into the ether. Samaritans offers stimulating and challenging work and an incredible opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives.

Being part of Samaritans is also like being part of a large family.  I have met so many interesting people from all walks of life and have made so many genuine friends.  It’s a truly rewarding experience in every way.’

Click here to sponsor Annie visit.

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