Making Memories… Giving Hope

Tales from an epic adventure in aid of CHICKS!


It’s been two years this week since Donna Marie and Iain Ashton set off on an epic cycling adventure, all to raise funds for us!

With no prior cycling experience, Donna Marie and Iain decided to set themselves a mammoth challenge – cycling an incredible 5000km from Devon to the Black Sea. Thanks to lots of generous sponsorship and support from their friends, family amd local Nordic Walking groups, the adventurous duo raised an incredible total of more than £10,000 for CHICKS!

As you might expect, their self-supported cycle tour through nine European countries left Donna Marie with a wealth of stories to tell, which she is sharing with the world in a jam-packed book, full of tales from the trip.

The Beardless Adventurer and Her Inconvenience: A first time cycle trip across Europe’ has gone on sale today so you can now laugh and cry along with Donna Marie and Iain, enjoying the many weird and wonderful encounters they experienced along the way. We’ve got an exclusive extract from the book – which offers just a glimpse into the support they received and some of the challenges they faced:  

“I am a big Nordic Walking enthusiast. I set up a community Nordic Walking project, and as part of our cycle challenge I promised my Nordic Walking groups that I would be taking a Nordic Walk in every one of the countries we visited. This was in recognition of the fact that whilst I was away they were all continuing to meet, walk and donate all of their usual walk fees to the CHICKS charity we were raising money for. They were a wonderful group, who not only did their regular walks but also held additional sponsored walks, took part in a fancy-dress walk before we left, and even held car boot sales. In the tough times it was certainly helpful to know they were all really rooting for our success and to see our charity total regularly rising because of their efforts. The Nordic Walking poles that I lugged around, strapped to my rear pannier rack, also came in handy for assembling our wet-weather tarp shelter. We were also informed (by a fellow touring cyclist) that they would be useful for any encounters where we needed to defend ourselves against wild dogs! The above-mentioned cyclist happened to be carrying a large, heavy metal bar for just such an occasion; she was so convinced she would need it in Romania that she was carrying it all the way across the rest of Europe – just in case.”

You can now buy the book on Amazon or find out more about Donna Marie on her website

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Donna Marie and Iain for taking on such an ambitious challenge and choosing to support us! CHICKS receives no government funding, so we rely entirely on generous donations and amazing fundraisers like them. If you’re feeling inspired to take on your own challenge for CHICKS, please do get in touch with us!

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