Pedal-powered mercy trip

Charlotte Rossall, 14, and Rev Rick Bunday, vicar of St Michael's Kirkham, on fixed bikes in church to raise funds for Malawi ahead of Charlotte's trip there in 2017.

Charlotte Rossall, 14, and Rev Rick Bunday, vicar of St Michael's Kirkham, on fixed bikes in church to raise funds for Malawi ahead of Charlotte's trip there in 2017.

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A Fylde community is rallying round to help send a teenager on a two-week mercy mission to Africa.

Charlotte Rossall, 14, has been selected to represent North West England Girl Guides 
on a visit to Malawi next summer.

The mission will entail working with the Book Bus charity to help children and adults with literacy - but Charlotte and her family need to raise almost £2,000 to fund the trip.

They have got off to a flying start thanks to fellow parishioners at St Michael’s Church, Kirkham, where vicar Rev Richard Bunday was among those took to a static exercise bike in church to help support the cause.

The hope is that the bulk of the funds needed will be covered by a sponsored challenge of replicating the 7,422 miles to Malawi by cycling, running, swimming or walking part of the distance.

Fund-raising was given the ideal kick-start with the raising of more than £500 via sponsorship at a recent family service and the aim is to hold a similar event at a future service to celebrate the total distance being reached.

The fund has been further boosted by pledges, while the Parochial Church Council has donated £500 and Charlotte’s mum Joanne said: “We are well on the way and we are so grateful to everyone who has offered to help.

“Charlotte is really honoured to have been chosen by the Guides to make what will be her first trip abroad with them and is so much looking forward to it.

“It has been a great start and we are hoping that between Charlotte and friends and relatives who have pledged miles, the distance will be covered before she goes.

“Thanks go to Ted Rhodes for arranging for the two fixed bikes to be placed in church for the challenge to begin.”

Charlotte, a Year 10 student at St Aidan’s CE High School, Preesall, lives in Kirkham and has been involved with the guides at St Michael’s since she was a Rainbow at five years old.

She is a young leader at 2nd Kirkham St Michael’s Rainbows, having attended 2nd Kirkham, St Michael’s Guides and now the Bryning District senior section.

Charlotte was St Michael’s Church rose queen in 2015.

Rev Bunday said: “Charlotte’s sense of commitment to those less fortunate than herself is remarkable and we wish her all the very best with her fund-raising and her trip. There’s a great sense of community in Kirkham and the support she has received is the perfect evidence of that.”

Malawi is a landlocked country in south east Africa bordered by Zambia to the north west, Tanzania to the north east and Mozambique on the east, south and west.

Nicknamed ‘the warm heart of Africa’, it has a population of around 16,400,000.