SHE may have cerebral palsy, be registered blind and live in a care home, but Rhoda Gourlay is not ready to give up her passion for fundraising just yet.
At the age of 63, the plucky pensioner has set herself the most gruelling challenge she could have imagined – cycling 500 miles for charity.
By this summer, Rhoda will have cycled all the way from Edinburgh to Buckingham Palace, without even leaving her home in Lasswade.
She will undertake the challenge in aid of the Barchester’s Charitable Foundation, on a stationery cycling machine, at the Drummond Grange Care Home where she lives.
Rhoda said: “I’ve already started my cycle and I’m finding it quite challenging already.
“I don’t have very good vision and I’m in a wheelchair but I’ve always enjoyed raising money for charity and I’m not ready to stop yet.
“I rely on voices and touch to help me around the home.”
Barchester’s Charitable Foundation is a charity that helps older people and adults with a disability across Scotland, Wales and England by offering grants of up to £5000.
Rhoda has a personal link with them, as some of the funds she raises will go towards new physiotherapy equipment for Drummond Grange Care Home.
Rhoda said: “I roughly cycle for about an hour a day and I’m taking it at my own pace.
“It was my physiotherapist and his assistant that came up with the idea because they knew how much I wanted to do something and they felt this was achievable.
“I don’t feel any pain at all when I’m cycling.
“I know I will complete the challenge because I am mentally set up for it.
“Having a purpose in my life again helps me to stay calm and relaxed – it brings me immense joy.”
Eleanor Wilson, general manager at Drummond Grange Care Home, said Rhoda was an inspiration to all of the home’s residents.
She said: “What Rhoda is setting out to achieve is amazing and she’s a real inspiration to all of us.
“She is always looking for ways to raise money for Barchester’s Charitable Foundation, which is why she’s the home’s Foundation Champion, but this is without a doubt her biggest challenge yet.
“Everyone at the home was excited about cheering her on when she started her journey in March and she seems to be doing well so far.
“She had a sore foot for a few days but that didn’t stop her in her tracks.”
Anyone wishing to sponsor Rhoda can do so at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RhodaGourlay