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Bushey woman Helen McGregor cycles 280 miles across Asia for children's charity, Plan
A Bushey woman cycled 280 miles across South East Asia to raise money for a charity which supports some of the world’s poorest children.
Helen McGregor, of Lambert Court, set off in scorching heat from Ho Chi Min City, southern Vietnam and travelled to Siem Reap, rural Cambodia.
The 32-year-old housing manager wanted to "make a difference" ever since she travelled to Cambodia eight years ago and saw the poverty that gripped the nation.
For the past six years, Miss McGregor has been sponsoring a Cambodian child called Sarith, through Plan, a charity that works with poor children across the world to help them build a better future.
Miss McGregor said, after years of receiving letters and photos from the 14-year-old, she thought it would be a great idea to meet the young girl and her family after crossing the finishing line in Siem Reap.
"I was able to meet Sarith’s family, which was amazing after all these years. Finally meeting each other was a wonderful experience."
Miss McGregor, who completed the challenge with her partner, Stephen White, a 32-year-old architect, said she was drawn to the idea of cycling across South East Asia because it would allow her to see parts she would not normally get to see.
"In Vietnam we cycled through lush green rice paddy fields and alongside Buddhist temples. In Cambodia, we saw banana plantations, houses on stilts and bathing water buffalo."
However, Miss McGregor, who spent most of the winter months training, cycling between Watford and St Albans, said she found the heat "really challenging" at first, as temperatures soared to 35 degrees.
Nonetheless, Miss McGregor said meeting Sarith was the highlight of her trip, with the youngster, upon her visitor’s arrival, gathering all of her friends, family and neighbours to greet her.
"I recognised Sarith and her family immediately from the photographs she had sent and I couldn’t stop smiling."
Miss McGregor said she was able to find out so much more about Sarith, who wants to grow up to be a tailor, although her time with the family was limited.
"I was sad to say goodbye but really happy to have met Sarith and her family. I feel really lucky that I met her and it made me even more excited about supporting Plan."
She added: "I feel really passionate about the work the charity does - they really focus on making sure these children have a future and the best start in life they can get."
Miss McGregor, who set off on her cycling trip on February 23, crossed the finish line on March 5, raising about £500.
For more information about Plan call 0300 777 9777 or visit www.plan-uk.org.
To sponsor Miss McGregor visit http://www.justgiving.com/Helen-McGregor
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