Rita’s quest for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust

22nd July

Heathfield woman Rita Dingwall has completed her mission of cycling from London to Amsterdam in order to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust.

Rita, 63, an Equine Practice Manager, completed the fundraiser on June 28th on board her beloved bike Evie.

This quest, however, is not unknown to Rita and Evie.

Flashback to June 7th, 2018. Rita began her first journey from London to Amsterdam in a bid to raise money for the MS Trust. Having already sustained two cracked ribs from falling downstairs (the day after The Heathfield Show, of which she is the Chairman) Rita knew this would be a challenge. Putting her injuries firmly to one side, she began this first fundraiser.

Unfortunately, a pedestrian walked out in front of Rita and Evie at the seaside town of Nieuwpoort, Belgium, on the second day of the ride, after 50 miles had been completed. This resulted in their ride coming to an end as Rita sustained two right side hip-socket fractures. Regardless, Rita’s sponsors continued to sponsor her, and they raised just over £3,500.

After this accident, Rita rode an electric bike for a few months with the Heathfield Cycle Club. Building her strength meant that Rita was able to get back on faithful Evie in January of this year. She participated in Davina McCall’s Action Research Ride, despite training being slightly limited due to a chest infection over the winter months.

But this did not stop valiant Rita.

This year, Rita and Evie were back in action setting off for Amsterdam once again. This time cycling from Essex to Harwich (a brutal 95 miles) and then on the overnight ferry to the Hook of Holland. Temperatures of up to 42 degrees didn’t stop this determined duo as they cycled a further 72 miles. This time, accompanied by John Gilliver and Shelley Parkinson riding her bike called Lizzy.

The assistance of their very own outriders, Steve and Neil, who gave them ongoing encouragement – particularly when the physical demands of the challenge hit home – further motivated Rita and Evie throughout the ride and over the finish line.

Rita explains: “I chose to raise money for the MS Trust after riding with a group of fundraisers from London to Paris in 2016 and they have since become great friends. Many of the fundraisers had MS themselves and they really inspired me.”

She adds: “We had such a great time that we all decided to repeat the experience and ride to Amsterdam in 2018. I decided to help them with their fundraising: especially since some travelled to see me and many sent messages of support after my accident.”

Rita’s quest to raise money for the MS Trust doesn’t stop here: “My next event is to support my daughter, who is riding in her first Prudential Ride London 47 miles. I’ve done this before, but the 100-mile challenge proved too much for the hip, so I had to withdraw.”

She exclaims: “I know it’s incredibly hilly around the Surrey area, and there is a time limit which I’m not ready for at the moment – but never say never!”

Alongside supporting her daughter, Rita is also going to be cycling with Kenny Smith who is doing a 50-day cycle around the UK for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust. She will be cycling with him on July 30th from Hastings to Brighton.

Many people have been kind enough to support Rita in her mission. In fact, she has surpassed her target of £1,500 for the MS Trust. The total amount raised (including gift aid) now stands at a brilliant £1,530.

Should anybody wish to make a donation to help the lives of those living with Multiple Sclerosis, please visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RitaDingwall

If you would like to donate to Kenny’s fundraiser, please visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=kennysmith&pageUrl=31

For more information about the Multiple Sclerosis Trust, please visit their website: http://www.mstrust.org.uk/