South Lakes woman plans 3,000-kilometres cycle ride to raise money for medical supplies in conflict state

The Westmorland Gazette: Ruth Wharton Ruth Wharton

A FORMER Kendal market stall owner is cycling from Spain to York to raise money for medical supplies in Palestine.

Ruth Wharton, 62, who lives at Underbarrow and is originally from Kirkby Stephen, will make the 3,022 km trip from Tarifa, the southern-most tip of Spain, to the Yorkshire city on May 13.

Travelling alone, Ruth estimates it will take six weeks and plans to sleep in a small tent.

“There are so many refugees, civilians, women and children, who are living in appalling conditions,” she said.

“The innocent should not have to suffer because of this conflict. The more I read about it, the more I realise how dire the situation is. It makes me feel very insignificant, but more determined than ever to do this trip.”

Ruth hopes to raise £3,000, around £1 for each kilometre she cycles, for Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), a charity which provides emer-gency supplies to thousands.

Her interest in the conflict stems from Perivoli, an olive stall on Kendal Market, which she ran with her son and daughter nine years ago. Perivoli sold Greek products, but sourced some olive oil from Palestine.

“Through this connection with Palestinian suppliers, I was made increasingly aware of the struggles,” she said.

“Around 20,000 Palestinian refugees have recently fled Syria for Lebanon. Most are staying with extended families in overcrowded and dilapidated refugee camps.”

From Tarifa in Andalucia, to Seville, she will join the Via de la Plata to Santiago. From there she will continue through Spain and up the French coast to St Malo, where she will set sail for the UK before arriving in York, where her daughter currently lives.

Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/pedal4palestine or by texting BICI99 £2/£5/£10 to 70070. Her progress can be followed on Twitter at @pedal 4palestine

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