A team of doctors and cardiology researchers from the local NHS cycled the full length of the South Downs Way last weekend to raise vital funds for a children’s heart charity in South Africa.
The team of five mountain bikers began their 100-mile off road journey in Winchester on Saturday morning, arriving in Eastbourne on Sunday afternoon.
To date they have raised £1,500, which will be used to screen children in deprived parts of South Africa for preventable heart disease.
The ride was initiated by Dr Guy Lloyd, a cardiology consultant at the DGH in Eastbourne.
“It was a really tough challenge – there are a lot of hills between Winchester and Eastbourne – but it was worth every last effort,” said Dr Lloyd. “I’m really grateful to everyone who has supported us – all their generous donations will go directly to Echo in Africa, the charity that runs the heart screening programme. The money will be used to buy hand-held echocardiograms, which the volunteers use to detect heart disease in children living in hard to reach communities that would otherwise be overlooked.
“Rheumatic heart disease affects millions of people, particularly in economically and socially deprived areas, but if we can diagnose it early enough, there’s a very good chance we can treat it and save many lives.”
The other cyclists taking part in the challenge were Jet van Zalen and Nick Trim, who also work in cardiology, Tim Dicksee and Matt Jackson, a local GP who works with Dr Lloyd and his team to deliver the Community Cardiology Service.
Dr Jackson said, “We are fortunate in East Sussex that we can provide this service on the NHS, but it’s a very different picture for many people in South Africa who simply can’t access medical services. Echo is making a big difference and I am very pleased to help support such a worthwhile cause.”
Donations can be made at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SouthDownsWayChallenge1T