In the news - Freda Lydon
Who is she?
Freda Lydon has been the headteacher's PA at Wirral Grammar School for Girls for 12 years. But next November, the 56-year-old will be stepping away from the photocopier and on to a pedal bike. She'll be taking part in Cycle Taiwan, a 470km, six-day cycle ride through the mountains of Taiwan to raise money for Clatterbridge Cancer Research.
Blimey, no small undertaking, eh?
"Sometimes, I wake up in a sweat and think, 'What have I done?'" she says. "But then I take a reality check and think of the cancer sufferers and how my challenge will be nothing compared to what they have to go through. I put it into perspective by thinking of the people suffering."
There must be a lot of preparation?
Mrs Lydon goes to six gym sessions a week, two of which are spinning classes. She also goes for a bike ride at the weekend. "I will increase my cycling at Easter," she explains. "I don't want to peak too early. My spinning classes have been really great. I attend RPM spinning at Buckley Leisure Centre."
Is the school community on board?
"I arrange a keep-fit class after school every Monday," she says. "There are 28 of us altogether and they are all really supportive of what I am doing. They have told the students, who have also shown great support by helping me plan a concert at the school in February. The school's pop band, called Together, will be performing with two local bands the students know, Ex Files and Amazon."
Are others involved in the fundraising?
"I am asking everyone I know to get a tube of Smarties from me, or you can buy your own," she says. "Then, when you have eaten the Smarties, fill it with 20p - or, if you can afford it, #163;1 - coins. If I can get 300 people to do this for me, I will have my target. I want to raise #163;3,300, but my ideal figure is #163;4,700 - #163;10 for every kilometre I cycle. I'm like a bag lady: I carry a bag full of Smarties tubes everywhere with me: to school, to the supermarket, to the gym. You never know who you're going to bump into."
Sponsor Mrs Lydon at: http:www.justgiving.comFreda-Lydon.