Bike supplied by Winslow club ‘will make a huge difference’ to nun in rural Zambia

The Winslow Wheelers raised the money for a sturdy bike to enable Sister Francine to go about her daily visits across a wide area
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A nun in southern Africa has taken delivery of a brand new bike to help her carry out her duties visiting the sick, the elderly and children, thanks to a Winslow cycling club and the coincidence of a shared name.

The Winslow Wheelers were approached by the charity Sepo, which helps support the Comboni Missionary Sisters in the Western Province of Zambia.

One of the young nuns, Sister Francine, was in desperate need of a bike to help her get around in the large rural area of Mongu, visiting the sick and elderly who need extra support and care.

Sister Francine with her new bikeSister Francine with her new bike
Sister Francine with her new bike

She had recently been made responsible for monitoring the progress of children belonging to the Dream Project, a programme which donors sponsor young people’s education.

A strong bike was a must as there is only one main road in the area of Mongu, which is full of potholes, so much of the cycling is off road along sandy tracks.

The request caught the attention of club committee member Francine van Leeuwen, as the nun shared her unusual first name.

She said: "I’ve never met anyone called Francine before, let alone a nun in Zambia, so it was quite funny. When I put it round everyone in the bike club, they all thought I was making it up.”

But members of the Winslow Wheelers were eager to help the good cause and managed to raise enough money to purchase not only a strong bike for Sister Francine, but also the spare parts and maintenance tools to keep it roadworthy and in top condition.

Francine said: "The bike will make a huge difference to Sister Francine’s daily routine and she was so happy to receive it.

"She FaceTimed me with her bike and she just absolutely loved it. She said it’s made a massive difference, because she’s got a big rack on the front that she can put all supplies on and stuff.”

The club is now looking forward to receiving updates on how Sister Francine is doing on her new wheels.