[N]ational Trust staff member Zoe Gilbert will ride the 500km from London to Paris later this month to raise money for flood repairs in the north-western Lake District.
Zoe, who lives in Cockermouth and is Visitor Experience Manager at the Trust’s Wordsworth House and Garden, wanted to do her bit after Storm Desmond caused widespread damage in the area last December.
She explained: “Along with many homes and businesses in the Lakes, Wordsworth House and Garden was badly flooded. Luckily, we were covered by insurance, so we could get everything repaired and reopen on schedule in March for the new visitor season.
“Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to insure the countryside against bad weather, and it will cost many thousands of pounds to do the repairs needed in Borrowdale and the Buttermere valley. There was extensive erosion on Catbells fell, as well as damage to footpaths, watercourses and bridges throughout the northern Lakes.”
Zoe, who enjoys cycling around the area with her family, will begin her sponsored ride on Wednesday 27 July. She aims to reach Paris in four days.
She said: “I love the Lakes, and my kids have been privileged enough to grow up with this amazing landscape as their back garden. I can’t think of a more beautiful place to live and I want it to stay that way for them and everyone else to enjoy.
“I love cycling, but this is a really big challenge as I’ve never ridden anything like as far before. I’ve been overwhelmed by all the support I’ve had already – people care passionately about this area and want to help look after it. I’m funding the trip myself, so every penny I raise will go to flood-related conservation work.
“I’ll be riding from London to Dover, then from Calais through Arras and on to Paris to finish at the Eiffel Tower. It will mean some long days in the saddle, but I’m sure I’ll make it eventually. I’m working on the assumption that France will be a bit flatter than the Lakes!”
Anyone who would like to sponsor Zoe can visit her fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Zoe-Gilbert6.
Wordsworth House and Garden, on Main Street, Cockermouth, is the birthplace and childhood home of poet William Wordsworth. It is open Saturday to Thursday, 11am to 5pm (last entry 4pm) until 30 October. *Adult £8, child £4, family £20; National Trust members free. (*Gift aid prices include a voluntary 10% donation. See website for standard admission prices.)
For more information, see www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wordsworthhouse.