1 January 1999

On their bikes across

India – a memorable

trip raised £6600

THIS time last year two Cornish farmers wives were about to set out on a sponsored cycling trip that many would call foolhardy but which they looked on as an adventure.

Wendy Wallis, Penventon Farm, Helston, and Angela Dawson , Methleigh Lodge, Porthleven, were off to India to cycle in remote countryside in the state of Orissa to raise money to combat leprosy. They had trained hard but life and weather in Cornwall is somewhat softer than the heat and conditions they would experience on the trip in an area usually forbidden to tourists.

"Hardship, dirt, disease and squalor abounded, but that was not what made the trip memorable, it was the people," recalls Angela. "Through each village and town we were made welcome and sent on our way by crowds of smiling people. Children were everywhere and they were all curious about these odd people cycling through their village."

The cycling was not easy and there were one or two tumbles but no bad injuries .They covered 45-67 miles a day and visited a health centre at Hoina where leprosy sufferers are given corrective surgery and outworkers spread education on health, nutrition and hygiene education. The women completed more than the 418 miles they were sponsored for and raised a total of £6600 for Lepra, the charity working to eradicate leprosy. Angela and Wendy paid their own fares and expenses.

"All the money from the cycle ride went to the centre at Hoina where every penny is desperately needed and I know is put to good use. I wish I could convey the gratitude expressed by the patients there – it was heart rending," says Wendy, who continues to raise money for Lepra by showing a 20min video and answering questions about the trip.

She is now working towards another fund-raising trip for Lepra, a cycle ride in Brazil and would be glad to hear from potential sponsors or groups wishing to hear more about her and Angelas trip to India. Inquiries (01326-572714).

Kilimanjaro trek was

aimed at giving cash

to young disabled

In October Devon farmers wife Marilyn Fry and daughter Kate trekked up Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for Parents for Inclusion, a charity which works to ensure that young disabled people get the education they need to lead full and effective lives within their families and communities. Each paid their own expenses and aimed to raise £2000 for the charity. It was a great experience, as Marilyn writes:

"We have had a wonderful 12 days of which we spent nine days and nights on the mountain itself. It seems strange now to look back and think of the things that I thought would bother me; for instance the toilet arrangements and not washing my hair for nine days. But in fact those things were so insignificant that they hardly need mentioning!

Of the 25 of us who set out to trek up the mountain 24 of us reached the summit. A young lad on the team suffered altitude sickness at 16,000 feet and wasnt allowed to continue to the 19,000ft summit.

We reached the summit at sunrise – it is almost impossible to describe. The daily trekking was wonderful and the scenery so varied. No-one got blisters or aches or pains even when we did a full days trekking. We all suffered aching knees on the descent and were glad that we had taken walking poles.

We took a new Wilderness Route and saw very few people outside our group and I think because of that we all formed strong friendships within the group whose ages ranged from 17 to 59. The trekkers who were directly involved in the charity were a great bunch of people with incredibly positive attitudes to the various difficulties they and their families have had to overcome.

I think we all had odd bouts of homesickness and it was good to see Richard waiting for me at Totnes station. The over full in-tray in the office soon brought me back down to sea level as well.

Kate and I would like to thank the people in Cornworthy and all our sponsors, especially Swish at WGS in Dartmouth and Woodlands Leisure Park and everyone who lent us trekking gear."

Looking back over 1998 we

are reminded of some

unfinished business. We

wrote of the expeditions

made for charities that

West Country farmers

wives were planning but

never let you know the

outcome. And we no doubt

disappointed a lot of young

readers by not publishing

their prize winning verses

on farm safety. But here

at last are the reports

and the poems

If you go down to the farm today

Be sure to take great care

If you go down to the farm today

You must be aware

That farms are dangerous places to play

And you could end up in a bad way

So use your head or youll be dead

Be careful.

Clare Ragg (Age 9)

Fun on the farm

May do you harm

So be cool

Not a fool

Stay safe!

Amy Blackwell (Age 11)

I love to help my Grandad

on our lovely farm

And if I do what Im told

I wont come to harm.

Jonathan Ranjit (Age 6)

The rules of the farm

Are to be obeyed

Do not touch the bull

Or you will need first aid

Do not climb hay bales

You may think its cool

Hay bales can be loose

Then youll be the fool

Never play on tractors

Or follow them about

The driver may not see you

And will not hear you shout

When you are on the farm

You have to take good care

Children being killed

Is not rare.

James Gould (Age 11)

Dont do that!

Stuck in the mud,

Sinking in the grain,

Kicked by the bull,

Oh! the pain.

Hey look hay stacks,

Looks like fun

Oh no theyre falling,

Better run.

Oh look tractors!

Lets play on them instead,

I wonder what this does?

Now my friends dead.

Jennifer E Cartwright (Age 11)

When you are on the farm

you need to be aware

Of all the dangers there

Tractors trailers, forklifts,

bailers

Grain stores and straw

stacks too

Are all out to get you

So please girls and boys

take care.

Mark Nattriss (Age 8)

Farms are not for playing around

Beware of machinery backing around

Or else you may not be around.

Ashley Kerrindge (Age 10)

Children are being told every day

that a farm is a dangerous place to play

Reversing tractors, forklifts and ploughs

are all fearsome as charging cows

Silos, ladders and pits lie in wait

their unknown quantity a childs bait

So children listen to this

warning

to be safe not sorry in the morning.

Robert J Fleming (Age 9)

Heres a little rhyme that I beg you all to hear;

When machines are working on a farm please keep clear!

Dont dawdle behind that tractor, or play by that combine!

And after stroking animals, wash your hands before you dine.

Messing with those buttons and fiddling with that knob:

That kind of work is not for you, thats a grown-ups job!

Before going onto the farm, let somebody know:

What is it youre doing, and where exactly will you go?

And when you start thinking; what does this thing do?

Be careful or youll end up wishing youd asked someone who knew!

Please dont mess near slurry pits or clown around in barns,

Because dangers all around you when youre on a farm.

Farms are wonderful places, so I dont mean to spoil your fun,

But one thing on a farm comes first – safety, thats number one!!!

Julia Krier (Age 12)