Norwich physio Rahma Barclay cycling from London to Jerusalem for a good cause

Rahma Barclay, who is cycling from London to Jerusalem for charity. Submitted

Rahma Barclay, who is cycling from London to Jerusalem for charity. Submitted - Credit: Submitted

A physiotherapist who grew up in Norwich is getting on her bike to help a cause extremely close to her heart – bringing health care to Palestine.

Rahma Barclay, now based in London, is taking on a gruelling 3,500km cycle ride from the capital to Jerusalem, to raise money for a project started by charity Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP).

She will be completing the cross-continental challenge to raise funds for one of MAP's newest ventures – 'Building the capacity of Physiotherapy in Gaza' – which has been set up to aim to provide specialist training for physiotherapists working in the region.

Miss Barclay, 31, said: 'My parents met while in Jerusalem, so I feel a great connection to that part of the world, and as a keen cyclist I knew this would be the ideal way for me to help.

'I have always cared about the area and MAP's project will make such a huge difference to the lives of people living there.'

Miss Barclay visited a refugee camp in Shatila, Beirut, last year, where she witnessed first hand the work Medical Aid for Palestinians does, which motivated her to organise the mammoth cycling challenge.

She added: 'The sad reality is, that in places where blockades are in place, there is no real way that physiotherapists can access specialist development programmes, which is why the work MAP does is so important.

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'Things like physiotherapy are often taken for granted here, because we have the National Health Service, so I'm very passionate about trying to help bring this type of life-changing work to places where it would otherwise not be possible.'

In the project's first year, it will provide essential specialist training for more than 140 practitioners – 80pc of the physiotherapists in Gaza.

However, Miss Barclay is determined to do everything she can to help it do even more.

She said: 'The project will cost £53,000 to successfully carry out for its first year, so that is the target I have set myself.

'It would mean so much to hit this, but any amount I can raise would be a success.'

Miss Barclay sets off on her epic journey this weekend, and her progress can be followed here.

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