PEDDLE POWER: Carmel Gilson stopped in at Woodburn on her epic 4000km cycling trip up the east coast of Australia to raise money for orphans in Uganda. Photo Samantha Elley / Rivertown Times
PEDDLE POWER: Carmel Gilson stopped in at Woodburn on her epic 4000km cycling trip up the east coast of Australia to raise money for orphans in Uganda. Photo Samantha Elley / Rivertown Times Samantha Elley

Determined grandma

PLAGUES of butterflies, speeding trucks, driving rain and burning sun are only some of the conditions Carmel Gilson has had to face on her epic bike ride up the east coast of Australia.

The 54-year-old grandmother stopped in Woodburn last week after cycling 1800km to get there.

The next day she was preparing to do another 1400km during the next month to her final destination of Townsville.

"The last 15km riding from MacLean I got drenched," she said, laughing, after arriving in Woodburn.

"It was so heavy that it was stinging my arms."

Such hardships haven't deterred Carmel however, as she said she simply remembers why she is cycling.

"One day I was holding my grandson who was crying because he was hungry," she said.

"I knew he was about to be fed, but there are plenty of kids in Uganda who won't get fed.

"That's why I am doing this."

Her Pedals of Faith website states the money raised will go to "assist the Alms of Love Mission Inc., founded by Stephanie Verne of Bomaderry, to save orphans from dying of starvation in the villages of Butayunja and Masaka in Uganda".

The orphanage that is supported by Alms of Love Mission was founded by an ex-child soldier called Elijah.

"He had been recruited by one of Kony's henchmen when he was 12 years old," Carmel said.

"Now he wants to ensure young children don't suffer the same thing he did."

By the time Carmel arrived in Woodburn, she had already raised more than $9000.

Readers who are interested in helping Carmel raise money for the orphanage in Uganda can visit sites.google.com /site/pedalsoffaith/.



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