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5th December, 2016

Helen Watson’s Vietnam to Cambodia Charity Cycle Challenge

Helen Watsonimg_4090, Partner & Head of Employment at Aaron & Partners, a Chester legal ace with a passion for sport agreed to take on a gruelling physical challenge to cycle from Vietnam to Cambodia for charity.

From 1st to 12th November 2016 Helen cycled 450km – just over 279 miles – in the heat and humidity of the Far East in aid of Women v Cancer and Claire House Children’s Hospice.

Throughout the journey she was spurred on by the memory of a close friend who died of cancer five years ago.

“In 2011 I lost one of my best friends, a mother of three, to ovarian cancer,” said Helen. “In autumn the following year completed the Women v Cancer cycle challenge in her memory. I was staggered at the generosity of my friends and colleagues who helped me to raise almost £5,000 for this very worthy cause.”

Helen’s charity challenge is also raising money for Claire House Children’s Hospice in Clatterbridge, where she is currently the Chair of Trustees.

The challenge began in Ho Chi Minh City – formerly Saigon – in Vietnam and finished at the world heritage site of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Below are daily snippets from her epic journey in November, highlighting the challenges and adventures of the trip.

“I really appreciate all the sponsorship that people have so kindly pledged for these worthy causes,” said Helen.

Vietnam – Cambodia Challenge


Day 1 of cycling – Thursday 3rd November: day-1-vietnam-to-cambodia-montage-dig-sizeDay 1 of my Vietnam to Cambodia charity cycle challenge began in Ho Chi Minh city. We have seen monsoon-esque down pours of rain, we’ve crossed a river on a boat, had momentary breaks of sunshine and some well deserved refreshment pit stops at Vietnamese local’s homes thrown in! 52 km down, only 398 to go!


Friday 4th November: We have done a shorter cycle today approx. 35 miles but it was quite hilly and very rough terrain so tired after my adventures! As we have passed houses and schools on the cycle the children (below right image) have been absolutely thrilled to shout ‘hello’ and wave… They have so little but such happy gorgeous children. blog-vietnamese-children

img_4090Here come the girls – posing with the full Women V Cancer cycling team, I am there somewhere!


Saturday 5th November: I have just completed day 3 of cycling and the last day in Vietnam. Tomorrow we are on a 6 hour boat crossing to Cambodia. Today (below right): A brief pit stop for a much needed refreshment break, fish for lunch!day-fish-for-lunch


cambodia-montage-for-sm-useSunday 6th November: It has absolutely poured down all day! After 6 hours on a river boat ( called a ‘speed boat’ ) which I was sure was going to sink I have arrived in Cambodia and been for a spot of sightseeing before bike fitting! Here I am at the Royal Palace sporting the drowned rat look!


toilet-in-cambidaTuesday 8th November: I had no wifi last night so no opportunity to update! We have completed the longest cycle yet today, covering an incredible 80 miles.  cambodia-pit-stopThe weather conditions were 42 degrees today – so as you can imagine very hot and humid. I am absolutely covered in blisters and mosquito bites, but with only around 50 miles left tomorrow and all of your very kind donations coming in I am motivated and going full speed ahead! Pictures below. Firstly right: A very beautiful pit stop along our route today, Kampong Cham and secondly below left: Today’s toilet. A very good toilet for this trip!!! And we have all got the runs!!!

Wednesday 9th November: Finishing our charity cycle challenge, images below. Absolutely ecstatic at the finish line at the world heritage site of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. We have completed over 450 km across Vietnam to Cambodia on mountain bikes! Our jazzy bikes in preparation for the completion of the challenge!






In total the Vietnam to Cambodia Charity Cycle Challenge raised a magnificent £258,500 in aid of Women v Cancer for breast, cervical and ovarian cancer.

Following my Charity Cocktail Party – Tiaras & Tuxedos on Saturday 26th November at Inglewood Manor, I managed to raise over £10,000 for Claire House.

finally-i-have-scrubbed-up-to-celebrate-the-end-of-the-challengeLeft: Me in Cambodia at the end of the Vietnam – Cambodia Challenge. Finally scrubbed up celebrating and reflecting on a wonderful adventure in South East Asia, all in aid of two wonderful and worthwhile causes: Women V Cancer and Claire House.

Thank you so much to all of you for your very kind donations, I appreciate every one and they spurred me on throughout my trip. If you would still like to donate it isn’t too late! Please click here and you will be redirected to my Just Giving page!

Helen Watson

Partner & Head of Employment Law

Email: [email protected]




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