Major plans to cycle 100 miles for children

Army Major Melanie Bailey is on a mission of mercy to cycle 100 miles to raise money for children living in a remote village in Kenya.

Last year, the major, who is currently based at Friarage Hospital, Northallerton, where she works as a business manager in the Military Detachment Hospital Unit, travelled to a remote village in North West Kenya in her role with 12 Squadron, 3 Medical Regiment, Catterick.

She spent a month offering general medical care and health advice to villagers. It was this trip that fuelled her desire to do more to help the people of Kenya, many of whom live in dire poverty.

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“We set up camp in two schools, Sorok Primary and Sorok Girls School in the Baringo district in this very remote area of Kenya, and the welcome we received was just amazing,” she said.

“These villagers had never seen white people before. They literally have next to nothing and yet will give you everything they have. I was overwhelmed by their kindness and strength, and when I saw that the children there did not even have a ball to play with I realised that I could do something, albeit on a small scale, to help them.”

The major, who has twice been deployed to wartime Iraq and also to Kosovo during her military career, is a keen amateur athlete, running competitive marathons and cross country races both for the County of Humberside and the South of England, but she has been nursing an Achilles injury since January. As part of her rehabilitation she took up cycling in the summer and is now determined to complete a 100-mile ride from Northallerton to her home near Pocklington, just outside York, later this month.

“I am looking for sponsors and would like to raise at least a few hundred pounds to buy skipping ropes and footballs to send to the schools that made our squadron so welcome,” she said.

Anyone who would like to sponsor the major on her cycle ride should email her at: [email protected]