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‘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

She sang Amazing Grace and sporting anthems with the children Picture: DSWF

She sang Amazing Grace and sporting anthems with the children Picture: DSWF

DSWF

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 400km cycle ride across Zambia subjected the team to extreme temperatures Picture: DSWFThe 400km cycle ride across Zambia subjected the team to extreme temperatures Picture: DSWF

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.

The team suffered broken chains and gears along the way Picture: DSWFThe team suffered broken chains and gears along the way Picture: DSWF

“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.

Laura said she was was moved by her visit to the Elephant Orphanage Project Picture: DSWFLaura said she was was moved by her visit to the Elephant Orphanage Project Picture: DSWF

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.

Team Wild Ride 2018 cycled 400km across Zambia to raise money for the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation Picture: DSWFTeam Wild Ride 2018 cycled 400km across Zambia to raise money for the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation Picture: DSWF

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.

The Wild Ride team covered up to 100km a day, often on unmade roads Picture: DSWFThe Wild Ride team covered up to 100km a day, often on unmade roads Picture: DSWF

Laura sang and danced with a women�s outreach group in Zambia Picture: DSWFLaura sang and danced with a women�s outreach group in Zambia Picture: DSWF

The singer also visited a school and sang and danced with the children Picture: DSWFThe singer also visited a school and sang and danced with the children Picture: DSWF

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