Gethin Jones, Darren Gough, Shobna Gulati, Jill Halfpenny and Oliver Mellor are set to swap the studio for the saddle as they make their final preparations for the Get On Africa expedition which will see them join a group of health workers in Lesotho, where they will spend a week visiting isolated villages on motorbikes.
Having spent the past months learning to ride and undergoing off-road training the group will fly out to Lesotho on 4th April when they will team up with charity Riders for Health. The group will spend five days riding out to clinics which support some of the most isolated and poorest communities in Africa while also joining local health workers in delivering the vital supplies in the fight against HIV and tuberculosis.
Riders for Health specialise in using reliable motorbikes to get local health workers on the road so they can deliver health care to remote and inaccessible villages and communities in seven countries in Africa. The celebrities will link up with the charity’s activities in Lesotho which has one of the severest HIV problems in the world, with nearly 1 in 4 adults having HIV and approximately 1 in 3 children being born with the virus.
Spending five days in the saddle, the celebrities will be visiting clinics in Roma and Semonkong, which provide health care to 30,000 people in 60 villages. The group will be putting their new found off-road skills to the test as they visit some of the remotest villages in Lesotho and combat the Kingdom’s poor road network.
The expedition is being organised by Get On, the UK bike industry’s campaign to promote the benefits of life on two wheels. The campaign aims to show both the positive impact which bikes can have on society as well as how easy and accessible it is to learn.
The public will be able to follow the expedition every step of the way at www.geton.co.uk/africa, which launched today and will be updated every day until the end of the trip on 10th April. Visitors can already watch videos, see pictures and read blogs of the celebrities training, while daily updates will be posted live from Lesotho.
The expedition can also be followed via Facebook www.facebook.com/GetOnUK and Twitter www.twitter.com/GetOnTweets .
What the celebrities have to say about the expedition:
Gethin Jones: “I'm really excited about the adventure - but most of all the opportunity to help the people who really rely on the work Riders For Health do in the most remote areas of South Africa. I have done similar work on a bicycle, but the motorcycle enables the riders to go a little bit further, and quicker. I have loved the training, and can't wait to get out there".
Darren Gough: “Not many people realise just what good motorbikes can do for communities. Riders for Health are the perfect example of just what amazing things can be achieved by bikes - they help over 10 million people every year and bikes are at the heart of everything they do.”
“It’s going to be an incredible experience to ride with the health workers and see first hand the impact the motorbikes have on the villages and communities. I don’t think any of us quite know what to expect and what lies in store for us but we’ve all done the training and I just can’t wait to get out there and get riding.”
Shobna Gulati: “I am very proud to be joining the amazing Riders for Health campaign. I am going to experience first hand the difference two wheels can make in remote communities in need of support and vital health care.”
Jill Halfpenny: “I can’t wait to get out to Lesotho and work with Riders for Health. Everyday that I get on a motorbike i love it more and more and think i’m going to end up becoming completely in love with bikes.”
Oliver Mellor: “I feel very proud to be given this once in a lifetime opportunity and also I find it very rewarding to be able to help others less fortunate and to highlight the incredible work Riders For Heath do in these communities.”