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Cumbria fundraiser takes on back-to-back international challenges for the NSPCC

Mark and Sandra Jones

A fundraiser from Cumbria is set to take on two gruelling challenges back-to-back to raise money for the NSPCC.

Mark Jones will be tackling two international treks within weeks of one another to raise vital funds for the children’s charity; starting with a South-America trek straight into a Vietnam to Cambodia cycle less than two weeks later.

The first is a 5-day Trek to Machu Picchu, which follows the spectacular Ancascocha trail, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, raging rivers and remote mountain communities. Starting at Cusco, Mark will venture up to the Quchusqasa pass at 4,500m, and along the Silique river, before a 3,000 step climb following the traditional Inca path to Machu Picchu.

The second is a Ho Chi Minh to Angkor Wat bike ride, a 12-day, 450-km cycle. Mark will travel through beautiful rural landscapes, rice-paddies, and waterways of the atmospheric Mekong Delta into Cambodia, before finishing with one of the most impressive sites of Southeast Asia, the Royal Temples of Angkor Wat. To add to the pressure, Mark will also be celebrating his 60th birthday while on the bicycle!

In preparation for his challenges, he decided to combine fundraising with training by doing sponsored spinathons. He’s already held one, on Sunday the 1st of March, which included 12 hours of cycling and raised nearly £1000.

The next one is taking place on Thursday the 5th of March at the Sands Centre in Carlisle.

Mark Jones said “Having managed to cycle 200km on Sunday, and raised nearly a thousand pounds, I’m incredibly excited for what this next spinathon has to offer.

“I thoroughly enjoy taking part in these challenges and international adventures. Not only because I get to explore new places, and in this case celebrate my 60th birthday rather uniquely, but I’m also raising money to help the most vulnerable children get the support they need.

Rachel Walker the NSPCC Events and Participation Manager, who will be taking part in the Vietnam to Cambodia trip herself, said: “It is a massive challenge but it will be an experience he will never forget. I wish him all the best for his fundraising and for the training in Carlisle.

“The humidity will be a real factor but the stunning scenery and the wonderful welcome from the local people will make up for all the hard work.”

Mark has the backing of Sandra Jones, who is not only community fundraising manager for the NSPCC, but also his wife. She said “We would love for Cumbria to really get behind Mark as he tackles this cycle, which may be his biggest challenge yet!

“Every penny he raises means we can help more children going through their toughest times. In Carlisle for example, where we are training, we offer therapeutic services to children to help them turn their lives around.”

The service centre offers three programmes, including Protect and Respect. This programme supports young people ages 11-19 who have experienced or are at risk of sexual exploitation, and helps them to understand what healthy relationships look like. This preventative work is key to ending child cruelty once and for all.

If you would like to take on a charity challenge for the NSPCC and help change children’s lives. Whether that is a bike ride, abseil or marathon, please do join our team of heroes: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do/charity-runs-cycles-and-challenges/

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