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Student cycling her first London-Brighton bike ride aims to finish in Africa

* 10 June 2003 *

Student cycling her first London-Brighton bike ride aims to finish in Africa

A University of Sussex student who usually only cycles the four miles to campus is to take on the challenge of the 56-mile London to Brighton bike ride, on Sunday 15 June, to raise money for an African aid charity.

Suzie Sands, who is studying in the University's School of African and Asian Studies, hopes to raise £2,000 to fund a three-month trip to the war-torn state of Sierra Leone.

There she will work with the charity Action for Children (AfC), helping in their scheme to build new lives for survivors of the civil war. "I will be helping child mothers," says Suzie. "These women were often raped during the conflict and many had limbs cut off as a sign they had been captured."

Suzie, 26, who used to work as a carer for children with special needs, first became interested in a placement of this kind after travelling through southern Africa: "I saw children with special needs who couldn't bring in an income. This had led to their whole family being on the streets."

On the day she will be joining her father and brother who will be raising funds for the British Heart Foundation, the event's organisers: "I hope to donate to the BHF as well so both causes can benefit," says Suzie.

Suzie seems almost more apprehensive about the cycling challenge that awaits her on 15 June than about spending the summer in war-torn Sierra Leone. "I've only ever regularly cycled to campus. My dad, however is super-fit and does it every year so he talked me into it."

Will she make the trip in the average seven hours? "I'll start off at 7.30am and if I can make it back to Brighton by dusk I'll be happy!"

To make a donation to Suzie's campaign, email her at

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