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A visually impaired woman in Bilton is taking on a bike ride with a difference to support the Covid effort across the Harrogate district.

Hayley Day is challenging herself to ride 10 miles a day throughout March from the safety of her static bike. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Hayley was inspired to raise money for the Harrogate Easier Living Project (HELP) and its efforts to keep the local community safe and well since the pandemic started almost a year ago.

Nicknamed ‘Cycle into Spring Challenge’, Hayley will travel over 300 miles, the equivalent distance of Harrogate to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and back, on her month-long ride. She hopes to raise at least £300 towards HELP’s work in the local community.

Hayley said: “I have previously volunteered with HELP, making wellbeing calls to the people they support. That work gave me a real insight into the challenges facing older and vulnerable people even before the Covid pandemic began. HELP’s work has been absolutely crucial to so many people over the last year, looking after them in both practical and emotional ways.

“I really wanted to challenge myself to do something that was out of my comfort zone but that I could do safely and within the restrictions of the pandemic. I love using my static bike when I need to exercise and the weather is against me, but I’ve never cycled this far over continuous days!

“Me and my husband have just purchased a second hand tandem and I can’t wait to be able to enjoy the freedom of outdoor rides as the weather gets better and restrictions ease. I try not to let my disability stop me from doing most things I want to achieve but Covid has really challenged my independence. I wanted to help those who are less fortunate than me and who don’t have a family network to support them, relying on charities and community groups such as HELP.”

HELP’s team of volunteers have now carried out over 6,300 tasks for people isolating or shielding throughout the Covid crisis. The charity, which is part of Harrogate and District Community Action, is also providing transport to Covid vaccination appointments as well as managing teams of volunteer marshals to ensure the smooth running of both the Yorkshire Showground and Ripon Racecourse vaccination centres.

Frances Elliot, Chief Executive of Harrogate and District Community Action, said: “We have been supporting the local community for over 25 years but these last 12 months have been the most challenging in our history with more people than ever needing our help. None of our work would be possible without the support of the local community and it’s great to have Hayley, who has been a really valued volunteer, supporting us in this way. We will be cheering her on remotely and doing everything we can to motivate her to complete this challenge.”

To sponsor Hayley, visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/HELP-Hayley

To find out more about HELP’s work visit www.helpharrogate.org.uk

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