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1,000km & 1,000 selfies later

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

We’re not quite sure if Lorraine Hodgson, a voice artist from the UK, knew exactly what she was signing up for when she agreed to take part in our 2023 Sadbhavana Cycle Yatra. She definititely wasn't prepared for all the selfies!

A friend of our resident Snehalaya UK trustee, Nick Cox, she has visited Snehalaya a few times, including earlier this year when she heard about our planned rally. She was intrigued by the challenge of exploring Bangladesh for the first time at cycling speed. She was also excited at the prospect of riding alongside our beneficiaries and staff to help spread messages of peace, harmony and goodwill. After hearing more about our previous rallies from those who had taken part and speaking to our Founder, Girish, who would also be cycling the full distance, she announced that she would like to join the rally.

Upon her return to the UK and not sure her level of fitness was enough to cover the full distance, she immediately started training, regularly cycling between jobs in London. She also started a fundraising mission, asking people to sponsor her cycle challenge and raise much-needed funding for our work. The response was overwhelming with many of her friends and family happy to encourage her by donating to her Go Fund Me page in support of our projects. At the time of writing she has smashed her original goal of £4,000 with a grand total of £6,025 raised from over 150 donors. She had the inspiration of approaching corporate sponsors who contributed cycling kits and more which she was able to share with the team.

Lorraine’s adventure began on 10 September when she boarded the train taking our cyclists from Ahmednagar to Kolkata, the starting point for the cycle rally to Noakhali in Bangladesh. By the time she arrived back in the West Bengal city on 4 October she had cycled over 1,000km, visited cultural sights in both India and Bangladesh, been interviewed many times, spoken to thousands of students, Lions and Rotary club members and NGO partners, met with religious and community leaders and politicians and truly bonded with her fellow cyclists. Starting in the early hours each day she enthusiastically hit the saddle, despite the staggeringly humid heat, monsoonal downpours and crazy traffic both sides of the border, sometimes cycling late into the night.

Lorraine says: “Embarking on a memorable adventure, I pedaled my way from the bustling streets of Kolkata, India, to the serene landscapes of Noakhali, Bangladesh. This cycle yatra was a journey of discovery, forming many lasting connections with the team and people I met upon the way, tasting delicious local cuisine, visiting temples and learning the history of India and Bangladesh. The challenging terrain, the intense heat and the monsoon rains all added to making the cycle yatra an unforgettable experience.

“Would I do it all again?

Lorraine and the team’s progress was fully documented with daily videos sharing highlights of the trip with a focus on Lorraine’s personal journey. You can view the video playlist to see Lorraine interviewing and interacting with the rally members and bystanders as well as interviews of Lorraine by the media frenzy that followed her. You can also see all the updates on the rally here.

Thank you first and foremost to Lorraine for taking up the challenge. She inspired the other cyclists and those we met along the way as she took every obstacle in her stride and they all continue to marvel at her stamina and can-do attitude throughout. And of course, a big thank you to all that supported Lorraine and contributed to her fundraising target,

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