Stroud GP Dr Gill McInerney is taking on her biggest exercise challenge to date with the London to Paris bike ride later this month.

It’s an fabulous challenge for the locum doctor who, in 2017, retired as partner of Phoenix Surgery in Cirencester after 18 years.

After never having done any road cycling previously, and very little aerobic exercise generally, Dr McInerney has been in training for the past four months.

During most of this time, she has been accompanied by long-time friend Teresa Cooper who she met when she first moved to Stroud in 1998.

Teresa, who was born and bred in the town, was planning to join Gill for the journey to the French capital.

Unfortunately for them both, Teresa, who is in remission from ovarian cancer, had to drop out of training a fortnight ago.

“It was four years next month that my lung collapsed and that I was subsequently diagnosed with ovarian cancer,” says Teresa.

"I've done really well to get this far, but I have had to realise that I am just not strong enough to undertake the cycle this year."

Dr McInerney has decided to courageously continue the cycle on her own.

“I am in awe of Gill because she has never done any exercise other than pilates and undertaking some 300 miles is a massive challenge. She doesn’t even own a bike,” enthuses Teresa.

Gill and Teresa will continue their fundraising together however, in aid of children with cancer charity, Christopher’s Smile.

It is run by husband and wife-team Karen and Kevin Capel who set up the charity in 2008 after losing their six-year-old son, Christopher, to an aggressive brain tumour.

It was thanks to Teresa’s monthly visits for research therapy at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, and seeing young children undergoing treatment for cancer that inspired Teresa to undertake the fundraiser.

“After seeing all the poorly children in the hospital, it just broke my heart and I knew I wanted to do something specifically for children with cancer.”

“For the past four months, Gill and I have been getting accustomed to cycling everywhere and learning how to cycle on the road. We chose the team name ‘Slow and Steady’ as you simply couldn’t get any slower than us!

“As for ‘steady’ – that is the aspirational bit!” Teresa laughs.

“We funded all the costs of the trip ourselves as we want all the donations to go to the charity.”

Sadly for Teresa, the challenge is not to be this year.

“I unfortunately realised with just two weeks to go that I am not yet up to the challenge, but I remain positive and in full fundraising mode to inspire Gill to complete the journey to Paris.”

The target currently stands at just over £2000.

“We were aiming to fundraise just £1000, but having exceeded our expectations, we are now aiming high. Every penny counts for children with cancer,” says Teresa, jubilant.

Once her ride is complete, Dr McInerney will be looking forward to starting a new job at a medical practice in Stonehouse in August. 

Lets hope she and Teresa will continue their cycling. 

Sponsor Dr McInerney's cycle ride here