‘It was tough but bike trip made me realise how lucky we are’
MODEL AMY PEDALS 300 MILES ACROSS INDIA TO RAISE CA
SHE has starred on I’m A Celeb and The Jump but Amy Willerton says cycling across India is one of her greatest achievements.
The model was joined on the adventure by her mum Sarah, dad Bruce, boyfriend Dan Day and family friend Mark Timm.
They put on their cycle helmets and Lycra in honour of her younger brother Ross, who has severe autism.
Amy, 25, said: “The whole experience has been incredible from start to finish on so many different levels.
“I loved doing the Jungle and The Jump but this was even better in many ways, and for completely different reasons.
“I got to experience this along with my mum and dad and my boyfriend. To all be out in India together raising awareness and money for the National Autistic Society meant a lot to us as a family.
“We all love Ross to bits but him having autism has been hard for us as a family at times. Especially for my mum and dad. But at the same time it has also brought us all closer together.
“We are very lucky because we can do a lot of things Ross can’t and that has always made us grateful for what we have and we’re determined to live our lives to the full.”
Last-minute passport and visa issues almost meant Amy missed the trip.
But her flight landed in Delhi just in time for her to catch a train to Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal.
I joined Amy and her family on the trip and got to see one of the seven wonders of the world before we all slipped on the cycling shorts and pedalled our way to Jaipur. The 300-mile journey from Agra to Jaipur took us six days. Despite spending around eight hours each day on the bike there was time to cram in a tiger safari, traditional Indian dancing and some sightseeing.
One of the trip’s highlights was unexpectedly being invited into a village school to meet the children.
After completing the epic journey Amy told me: “It was physically tough at times but I’m so glad we did it.
“India is such a beautiful country. The people are so friendly, especially the kids. It was really humbling to cycle through tiny villages and see all the kids, who have practically nothing, run out waving with the biggest smiles on their faces.
“Or to go into the school and get the warmest of welcomes. It really did make you appreciate how lucky we all are and what’s important in life.
“Lydia Bright from TOWIE suggested we do this Charity Challenge and I’m so glad we did. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone. It’s hard to put into words how incredible it was.”
Amy has now set off to travel around south-east Asia with Dan before returning home to Bristol for Christmas with the family.
She said: “Me and Dan are basically going around Asia for the next few months. Everyone keeps asking if we are engaged and when are we settling down, but we are kind of doing the opposite.
“We are going off and travelling the world. We have done the long-distance relationship, we have done the living together. If we can spend a few months travelling together without falling out it’s a good sign we’ll be together forever.”
The trip has so far raised £2,570 but you can still sponsor Amy and her family by visiting justgiving.com/fundraising/ amywillerton.
SO LOVED: Amy with her brother Ross ■
WONDER: Amy with our James at Taj Mahal and, right, trying on a sari ■ TRIUMPH: Amy with pal Mark, mum Sarah, her boyfriend Dan and dad Bruce