A 48-hour static cycle challenge was held by members of the Chigwell Mandir (Temple) to raise money to provide critical care equipment for the Covid-19 victims in India.

The challenge started on Saturday morning and finished on Monday.

Fundraisers, aged between 16 and 65, were joined by Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing and Chigwell Parish Council chairman Pranav Bhanot for the start of the marathon challenge.

The Chigwell participants of the 'Cycle to Save Lives' India Covid Appeal covered a distance of more than 7,600 kilometres, the distance between London and New Delhi.

Money raised will help the emergency Covid relief effort in India and support relief work undertaken by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha in India.

Dame Eleanor said: "I was delighted to be able to support such a magnificent fundraising effort.

"Everyone is heartbroken at the images coming out of India and the Covid-19 situation there.

"We all want to do what we can to help. The UK has very strong ties with India and it is great to see the Mandir community here in Chigwell taking this brilliant initiative.

"I sincerely hope that people all over the country will respond to this appeal."

BAPS has already responded with a new 500-bed facility in Atladara, Gujarat, equipped with ICU facilities and life-saving oxygen as well as PPE for medical staff.

This is in addition to ongoing relief work in India since the pandemic began, with the distribution of hot meals, fresh vegetables, ration kits, N95 masks, and more.

An international emergency campaign has been launched to provide further critical care and support to the needy as the devastating second wave in India intensifies.

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