Cumbria Crack

Tandem rider takes to the road in team effort for Samaritans

Wheely good – Rachel will be joined by fellow Samaritans from across the country as she makes her way from Land’s End to John O’ Groats.

[K]een cyclist Mark Houghton from Lancaster and District Samaritans will join a team of cyclists keeping an intrepid tandem rider company as she cycles from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise money and awareness for Samaritans.

Rachel Holley, a volunteer at Tunbridge Wells Samaritans, will cover a thousand miles, riding on the tandem with a different person each day and visiting 26 Samaritans branches on the way. She will be calling in at Lancaster Samaritans on 19 May, and leaving for Penrith with Mark, a listening volunteer in the Lancaster branch, the following day.

Rachel said: “The idea behind the tandem is that some challenges are too big to tackle by yourself, and it’s ok to ask for help.”

“As a short, fat woman most at home curled up on a sofa, getting fit enough to cycle a thousand miles felt like a ludicrous impossibility – I’d never have managed to make myself do it on my own. But with help and support, I might just get there!”

Mark said: “I offered to support Rachel because she’s taking on a great challenge and I wanted to help raise awareness of Samaritans.

“I will be riding 50 miles with her. It’s a tough route as we’ll be going over Shap summit so it’s a total ascent of more than 1900 feet. We hope people will look out for us and consider sponsoring the ride.”

As a former Samaritans caller, Rachel hopes that the ride will encourage people to reach out for support, and consider volunteering. Samaritans relies on volunteers to provide their service, and are urgently recruiting for listening volunteers and volunteers for their Charity Shop in Lancaster.

If you are interested in volunteering, visit To donate visit

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