Iona’s pedal power pays off

Iona is already planning the next leg of her two-year fundraising venture
Iona is already planning the next leg of her two-year fundraising venture

A Garioch woman has completed the first leg of a two-year cycling challenge for charity.

Iona Hassan, who grew up in Insch, has just returned home to Pewsey in Wiltshire after covering more than 1600 miles from France to Italy in only 25 days.

The former Inverurie Academy pupil is aiming to raise £10,000 to share between two charities.

They are UK-based organisation ‘Inspire Malawi’, to help build a classroom for the children in rural Malawi, and ‘Networks of Wellbeing’, a local mental health charity based in Huntly.

Iona, whose family still live in Insch, travelled from Roscoff to Venice last month on her Dawes Karakum bike - affectionately called Hamish.

She was on her own for much of the marathon trek, but a few friends joined up to help rally her along the way.

Musician Iona, 39, said: “The most testing aspects were being on my own for long periods of time, sometimes when quite tired and hungry when I didn’t fuel myself well enough early on in the tour.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their support, encouragement and generous donations which really spurred me on.”

Following her European adventure, Iona turns her attention to Africa in February to cycle from Kenya to Cape Town.

Then it is on to Nepal to ride from Kathmandu to Mandalay, which she is in the process of planning.

The final fundraising challenge is to cycle across Australia and the USA in 2019.