CO-ORDINATING an annual Denton Christmas shoebox appeal led to an intrepid churchwarden cycling 206 miles in six days across Romania and Moldova.
Grandmother Rosemary Cutbush, 64, was part of a team of 17 on this sponsored challenge and has raised £2,400 so far.
“I felt really overjoyed at managing to complete the challenge, although totally exhausted, and felt that all the training and hard work in raising the sponsorship money was well worth it as I knew that I would be helping Link Romania to continue and expand on the valuable projects they have set up to help alleviate poverty in some parts of this land,” she said.
For two years St Leonard’s Church at Denton has been part of The Link Romania Shoebox appeal and last year advertising for the challenge caught Rosemary’s eye.
“It was a once in a lifetime experience and when I saw the details they just jumped out at me with a wow - I would really love to do that,” she said.
There was just one part of it all that put her off - kayaking down a river.
“However, as time drew near a chap in Denton got to hear of the cycle challenge and the kayaking bit and offered to take me in a kayak on the Cuckmere Meanders,” she said.
“I could not say no so off we went in the pouring rain. Thoroughly enjoyed it and hence it was no problem when in Moldova.”
She said the hardest part of the challenge was cycling up the continuous rolling hills on day two and three when the temperature reached 32 degrees.
They visited the Little Rainbows Kindergarten where the children entertained them, food parcels were handed out and the cyclists were taken to see their homes.
“The first house consisted of one room where five little children, a mum and dad and granny lived in squalid conditions. No running water either, that had to be fetched from the well in the village,”Rosemary said.
They also visited the Soup Kitchen Project in Cosnita, Transnistria, where up to 100 people are fed a two course main meal every day of the year, before reaching the finish line in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova.