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Beijing Biddies say thank you to people of Cumbria with donation to flood appeal

Jumping for joy in Arctic Circle. (L-R): Liz Tinkler, Kate Sleath, Helen Stobart, Edwina Sorkin and Kerrie Ellison. (Photo courtesy of www.oliverwrightphotography.com)
Jumping for joy in Arctic Circle. (L-R): Liz Tinkler, Kate Sleath, Helen Stobart, Edwina Sorkin and Kerrie Ellison. (Photo courtesy of www.oliverwrightphotography.com)

[T]he Beijing Biddies are making a donation to the Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal 2015 as a thank you for all the support they received for their charity Arctic Challenge.

The five-strong team are donating £1500 from the proceeds of their non-stop driving challenge to help people who are still suffering hardship following the devastation of Storm Desmond last December.

Team leader, Edwina Sorkin, of Newbigging-on-Lune, Kirkby Stephen, said: “We were overwhelmed by the support and generosity of people earlier this year, particularly at a time when so many were struggling to cope in the aftermath of the floods. We want to show our gratitude by giving some of the money we raise back to the community.”

Edwina, along with teammates Kate Sleath, from Wetherby, in Yorkshire, Helen Stobart and Liz Tinkler, from Penrith, and Kerrie Ellison, from Kendal, drove non-stop from Carlisle to the Arctic Circle in February, in aid of Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support.

They took 95 hours and 30 minutes to drive 2,863 miles, without any overnight stops, travelling through France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway to finish at Nordkapp, 350 miles inside the Arctic Circle.

So far they have raised over £60,000 for their cancer charities and have a number of fundraising activities lined up for the rest of the year, including a Fizz and Bangers party at Penrith Rugby Club on September 9 and the production of a calendar for 2017.

This year’s Arctic Challenge followed an expedition by Edwina, aged 71, and Kate (65) in 2014 when they drove from Cumbria to Beijing in just 29 days in aid of Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support, earning them the nickname of the Beijing Biddies.

They are now planning a further charity challenge next year that, according to Edwina, will be “wackier than anything we have done so far!”

The Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal 2015 was launched by Cumbria Community Foundation in the wake of the county’s worst ever flooding.  The charity has now raised £10m to directly support individuals and families in hardship and vital community organisations and resident groups in the areas affected by the storm.

Andy Beeforth, Cumbria Community Foundation’s chief executive, said: “We are so very grateful that people are continuing to support the Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal. It is remarkable how much money has been raised in a short period of time to help people in very real need.

“We are only able to help so many people because of the generosity of individuals and groups like the Beijing Biddies team. It shows how strongly people feel about supporting their own communities.”

For more information on the Beijing Biddies and their charity fundraising, visit www.beijingbiddies.co.uk

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