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Chelmsford mum of two gets on her bike for charity

Natalie Rodrigues, from Chelmsford, is gearing up for a 300-mile bike ride from London to Paris this July, in a bid to raise £3,000 for children’s charity Action Medical Research.

Natalie has signed up to the cycling challenge that sets off from central London on 20 July and aims to finish under the Eiffel Tower on 24 July – just in time for the finale of the Tour de France.

Together with her long-time friend and riding partner Simone Iroizzo, Natalie, 50, will be joining a whole host of other riders who are all taking part in the charity challenge.

“Both Simone and I have children, and the work that Action Medical Research do is really important to us,” said Natalie, who is the weekend cover Manager at High Chelmer. “Their focus is on diseases that devastate the lives of children and trying to find cures through vital research. They’re a charity that doesn’t get anywhere near the funding they need or deserve, and the aches and pains we will get from the ride will be worth it knowing that the money we raise will go to such a good cause.”

The London to Paris ride will be the eleventh for Natalie and Simone since 2007 and in that time the pair have cycled more than 600 miles for charity, raising more than £2,000 for good causes including the British Heart Foundation and Farleigh Hospice.

In 2013 High Chelmer and the centre’s specialist security systems contractors, Centre Security Innovations, bought road bikes for both Natalie and Simone, under the friendly agreement that the pair would raise twice the amount the bikes were worth. This latest ride is set to take the pedalling pair past that goal, and High Chelmer Centre Manager Mick McDonagh said he was delighted to have been able to help Natalie and Simone in their fundraising efforts.

“The distance they’ve covered and the amount they have raised is really quite remarkable,” said Mick, “and that is only set to increase with this challenge. From everyone here at the centre, I’d like to wish them a huge ‘good luck’.”

Natalie added that following all the training, she was now keen to get on her bike for the cross-channel challenge. “We can’t wait to get pedalling,” she said. “Neither of us are what you’d call hard-core cyclists, so this is going to be a real challenge for us. Since Simone and I started doing distance rides like this in 2007 we’ve always had an eye on doing London to Paris. This was always the goal for us and now the training has really started to go up a gear. We’ve been doing 60 miles a week recently and that’s due to increase steadily, as we get closer to 20 July. By then we’ll be cycling around 150 miles a week.”

Oly Watts, Challenge Events Manager at Action Medical Research, said the 2016 London to Paris cycle challenge was set to raise a considerable amount for Action Medical Research.

“We are lucky to have so many strong supporters, including Natalie and Simone, raising funds on our behalf to help fund vital medical research,” he said. “This event is a must for any cycling enthusiast with the added bonus of seeing the finale of the 2016 Tour de France.”

Please find below Natalie and Simone’s fundraising page: https://www.action.org.uk/sponsor/teamcsihighchelmer