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Donna and Jan saddle up for Brazil bike ride

Brazil-bound charity cyclists Jan Wilkinson (left) and Donna MacRae at Honister
Brazil-bound charity cyclists Jan Wilkinson (left) and Donna MacRae at Honister

[T]wo Lakeland mums will swap Borrowdale for Brazil when they take part in a women-only sponsored cycle to help beat cancer.

Friends Donna MacRae, 53, and Jan Wilkinson, 49, are to attempt to ride 350 kilometres in five days through tropical conditions over tough South American terrain on the Women v Cancer Cycle Challenge.

Calling themselves The Borrowdale Lasses, the businesswomen have set up their own on-line JustGiving page with the aim of raising £6,000 for three charities tackling breast, cervical and ovarian cancer.

The ride starts at the UNESCO World Heritage town of Salavdor in Bahia and finishes back there after a journey along Brazil’s tropical coastline and through Atlantic rainforest in average temperatures of 26C (78F).

“You could call this our mid-life crisis!” joked Donna. “We have both raised families but we used to run together and and we wanted to do something really special before it is too late while we can still manage it,” added Donna, who owns Hazel Bank Country House Hotel in Rosthwaite with her husband Gary.

“Cancer affects so many people – and we have both lost people to cancer who were close to us,” said Jan, who speaks Portuguese after having lived in Brazil for two years. “We feel we want to do something to help combat it and this is a great way to do just that,” added Jan, who owns Honister Slate Mine.

Donna’s cousin Mark Weir was Jan’s partner. He died in a helicopter crash near the slate mine in 2011.

The women have paid for their own travel and flight on the Women V Cancer charity’s first trip to South America. They will set off for Brazil on September 30. The ride starts on October 4. It is in aid of Breast Cancer Care, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action. So far Donna and Jan have raised more than £700 in pledges.

For further details or to sponsor Donna and Jan, go to:

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