A CHARITY cyclist has been having a ball to help stay on the fundraising trail for an emotional bike ride through Beijing.
Amy Clarke has been raising cash for months to reach the £3,200 target she needs to tackle a two-wheeled trek through the Chinese capital in September – and boost three cancer charities in memory of her beloved mother.
Now she has smashed through her target with six months to spare, with a masquerade ball held at the Roker Hotel in Sunderland earlier this month bringing the charity haul up to a bumper £4,500.
Her previous money-making efforts for the Women v Cancer cycle ride have included 24-hour static bike ride, a ladies’ pampering night and a Calendar Girls-style photoshoot.
The mum-of-three, who has recently moved from Lawe Road in South Shields to Edinburgh with her family, is going the extra mile after mum Margaret Pentland lost her battle with ovarian cancer in October 2012.
Of the £3,200 needed to take part in the Chinese cycling challenge, half goes on flights and accommodation, with the rest boosting Breast Cancer Care, Ovarian Cancer Action and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.
Already an extra £1,300 will go direct to the charities, with Mrs Clarke hoping to get over the £5,000 mark before she sets off to the Far East.
The masquerade ball pulled in £1,800 alone, with over 140 revellers packing into the hotel on the night. Mrs Clarke, 39, said: “It was an absolutely fantastic night. A lot of very generous people bought tickets and donated raffle prizes. We raised just over £1,800 on the night, bringing the total to over £4,500.
“We had a band, a magician, George Dunn, a caricaturist, and a fire eater and stilt walker. We had a lot of positive feedback from the night. I am hoping to raise over £5,500 by September.”
Mrs Clarke’s mum died at just 63, after an 18-month battle with ovarian cancer, but her daughter is determined that she will not be forgotten.
She added: “She was an amazing, strong woman and at 63 lost her fight with ovarian cancer, leaving behind four children and eight grandchildren.
“She touched so many lives. She was respected and loved by so many people, and every person she met was left with a lasting loving memory.”
Mrs Clarke is now stepping up training for the trip, which is a 450km trek across the Beijing province of China, taking in the spectacular Great Wall, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.
She added: “I’m terrified. The fundraising was the easy part. I need to do some miles now. I will be stepping up how many miles I’m doing every month.
People can support Mrs Clarke’s charity bid by visiting www.justgiving.com/Margaretpentland.