A RETIRED physiotherapist has cycled 300 gruelling miles across India to raise money for a leprosy charity.
Miranda Hall, 64, from Warsash, spent two weeks on her bike as part of a fundraising cycle challenge for Lepra.
She battled against heat and notoriously dangerous roads to complete the sponsored ride and raise nearly £2,000.
Lepra is an international charity that helps sufferers of diseases such as leprosy, HIV and malaria, who are living in poverty.
Mrs Hall joined a group of 12 to bike through the heart of India and visit Lepra’s health projects in Madhya Pradesh.
She said: ‘The roads were chaotic. They were full of wildlife; there were goats, pigs and cows everywhere, to say nothing of the busy roads, heat, traffic noise and dust.’
Despite being a nervous cyclist in the UK, this is the third charity bike ride she has completed.
She previously took part in sponsored bike rides in Malawi in 2007 and to the eastern coast of India in 2009.
On her latest adventure she was accompanied by a Lepra health education van. The vans teach people in remote places about disease.
Mrs Hall said: ‘As you travel from village to village and town to town you are struck by the general poverty.
‘Everyone we met had a story of how their lives had been improved by Lepra.
‘Visiting people in their homes was very humbling. We just take for granted things like taps and hot water and flicking a light switch for electricity.
‘The people Lepra works with have so little.’
Each year Lepra improves the lives of around 700,000 people affected by disease, poverty and prejudice and reaches a further one million with health education.
For more information on Lepra’s overseas bike rides visit leprahealthinaction.org or call (01206) 216700.