RAF High Wycombe Reservist has completed a cycle ride from Vietnam to Cambodia to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund.
Wing Commander Trish Preston Whyte, 57, cycled 450km across the two countries over seven days from 17 November to 23 November, raising over £2700 for the Fund. The challenge, arranged by Dream Challenges, saw a group of 40 people travel from Vietnam to Cambodia by bike starting in My Tho on the Mekong Delta in Vietnam and finishing in Ankor Wat, Siem Reap in Cambodia.
Trish retired from RAF regular service aged 38 after serving for 17 years as an Air Traffic Controller. Now based out of High Wycombe, Trish is currently working as an Air Regional Employment Engagement Officer covering nine counties in the southeast region.
Speaking on her decision to take part in the challenge, Trish said: “I had no intentions of doing anything like this as I am not a cyclist, I’m not fit and at some point, I will need a knee replacement from previous injuries. But a friend asked me if I would do it with her as she didn’t want to do it alone. It did coincide with me taking up scuba diving for the first time which I loved, so I thought why not?! Especially as I had seven months to train for it.”
Trish continued: “In true military style, I clocked all my training rides, and I cannot believe the thousands of kilometres that I covered; that has amazed me especially with my troubled knee. I limp when I walk but I have found a new freedom on a bicycle which is a wonderful feeling and for that I am very grateful to be where I am.”
With a family background in the RAF, Trish’s father served for 38 years, and her brothers and husband did too. Trish said: “I have always been part of the RAF, so it is very dear to me, as are all the people who are associated with it.
“I am aware of the fantastic work that the RAF Benevolent Fund do for those that may need help and I also feel that the Fund is there for those that may fall down the cracks of other organisations and charities; the Fund is always there to help and assist.”
Trish said of her challenge: “It was an absolutely fantastic experience, that took us to parts of Vietnam and Cambodia that can only be accessed by bicycles so it was real and very raw and a total assault on the senses!
“The days were long and the heat and humidity were the biggest challenge as was getting to the end without getting ill or taken out by another cyclist. The scenic countryside routes were preferable to the busy towns that had crazy numbers of motorcycles that came at you in all directions.
Trish concluded: “Overall, the challenge has left me with wonderful memories, new friends and I am thankful to have completed it and delighted to have raised over £2700 for the RAF Benevolent Fund in the process.”
You can donate to Trish’s fundraiser on JustGiving. Follow the link below to find out more.