'Amazing experience' – Suffolk soprano Laura Wright encounters bush fires and snakes on 'African Wild Ride'
PUBLISHED: 14:10 14 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:32 14 August 2018
Suffolk’s ‘Sporting Soprano’ Laura Wright has finished a 400km cycle ride through a remote African region, raising thousands to help protect endangered species.
The former Framlingham College student said her “African Wild Ride” in support of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) was a “life changing” experience.
Laura was one of four ambassadors taking part in the ride through the wilds of Zambia, raising a collective £25,000 for the charity.
Along the journey, she sang and danced with local children, visited an elephant orphanage and met with an anti-poaching unit. She also suffered rough roads, bike malfunctions and a nasty bite from tsetse flies.
“It has just been one of the most incredible life changing and eye-opening experiences for me,” she said.
“It was very challenging – hot in the day and freezing at night and the terrain was tough. We were cycling on dusty, sandy roads, with big pot holes – there would be a bush fire to your right, a wild elephant to your left and snake in the middle! So that was a challenge, as well as the long distances.”
The mezzo-soprano singer, who regularly performs at international sporting events, took part in the ride with her fiancé Harry Rowland – a former professional rugby player – as well as former South African cricketer Jacques Rudolph and DSWF’s education adviser Andrew White.
Chaperoned by wildlife rangers, the team cycled around Zambia’s Kafue National Park to Victoria Falls, calling in at projects supported by DSWF along the way.
Laura also sang and danced with children and women’s groups to highlight DSWF’s work protecting endangered species with communities on the ground.
“I sang Amazing Grace with the children and The Lion Sleeps Tonight, with a few dance moves thrown in, which went down well, then finished off with some sporting anthems – it was lovely to share our cultures and it was an amazing experience,” she said.
The money raised will be used to fund anti-poaching and park protection work, species rehabilitation and release, as well as community education.
Laura added: “We need to protect species like elephants for all our children and our children’s children – so that’s what the cycle was all about.”
Visit www.davidshepherd.org to find out more.