A KEEN cyclist from Droitwich has cycled all the way to Birmingham and back in a bid to raise money for Age Uk Droitwich’s Befriending Service.

Elizabeth Baker, who works as a wellcheck officer in the town, decided to take advantage of the event, which was organised by the Royal Town Planning Institute, to help boost funds for the local service.

The Befriending Service is made up of volunteers who visit isolated older people in their homes around Droitwich, Hartlebury, Cutnall Green, Fernhill Heath, Hanbury, Stock Green, Wychbold, Tibberton, and Crowle, for an hour a week, and all the money raised by Mrs Baker will go toward reimbursing them for their travel expenses.

Clients can be living alone, housebound, or with no local family and a regular chat with a friendly visitor can really help their wellbeing.

Mrs Baker said: “The bike ride was quite an adventure. Although I often use my bike for work, I’m 43 and I wouldn’t say I’m super-fit. I attempted to use the canal towpath to get from my home in Droitwich to Centenary Square in Birmingham. I survived horseflies, overgrown paths, diversions around tunnels – and finally a ‘tow path closed’ sign at Stirchley, so I ended up doing the last stretch along Pershore Road - quite a contrast to the beautiful countryside I had come through.

“It was just over 50 miles round trip. I surprised myself by doing it, especially the return stretch because I was done in by the time I got to Centenary Square.”

Mrs Baker is still collecting sponsorship money in,in an attempt to reach her target of £450 which equates to 1,000 volunteer miles (volunteers are reimbursed for their petrol at 45p a mile), and if anyone wants to give a donation, they can send it to Age UK Droitwich Spa – Befriending Sponsored Cycle, Severn House, 32 Ombersley Street West, Droitwich Spa, Worcs WR9 8QZ (Cheques payable to ‘Age UK Droitwich Spa’).