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With no paid staff, Inspire Malawi relies on a dedicated band of volunteers to raise money, act as trustees and administrators, and work in-country to build new schools. If you would like to get involved, do drop us a line or donate using the details above. 

We dedicate this page to the stories of our incredible supporters and the lengths to which they have gone to ensure Inspire Malawi thrives.


Glutton-for-punishment Jess takes on her toughest fitness challenge yet for Inspire Malawi - the Virgin London Marathon 2016! 

"As most of you know, I have said many a time that I would never run a marathon….cycling the length of Britain is more my thing…. however when we got a charity ballot place for the London Marathon for Inspire Malawi, how could I say no?! 

Malawi is now officially the poorest country in the world; and coupled along with the fact that they suffered devastating flooding in 2015 which saw over 200,000 people displaced from their homes, they are now in more need than ever. As most of you know I am a Trustee of a Charity that supports education in Malawi, and the founding Trustee, Michelle Rowe, is out there right now assessing the damage and identifying new projects that need our support.

I am hoping to raise £10,000 – enough to build an entire school block in Nsanje District, one of the worst impacted areas by the flooding last year. We are hoping to start the build work at the end of this year so this is critical timing for fundraising; and given the size of the charity, this is basically our only current fundraising event.

It’s a really worthwhile charity that I feel really passionately about, and it would be great if you could support me. Here is the link:

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JessicaHodges3 

And please follow my training progress on Instagram and Facebook….. social media’ing it up is also helping me through…..


Jess' Story 2013 - 990 miles in 9 days on a bicycle from John O Groates to Land's End

jess bike In 2013, Inspire Malawi trustee, Jessica Hodges, dedicated herself to a mega-challenge to raise funds for the charity, cycling from John O Groates to Land's End in only nine days. She raised over £3200, enough money to fund a whole new classroom block. 

Day 1 – John O Groates to Kyle of Sutherland: awesome day. Average of 15.4 miles an hour, cycled with loads of different people and had a great foursome peloton for the last 30 miles – plus absolutely stunning scenery cycling along lochs, rivers and through valleys – spectacular stuff and all done in glorious sunshine. A slightly tough 15 miles in the middle but apparently (according to Chris – another Deloitter and my cycling dad for the week) that was because I didn’t eat/ drink enough so stocked up at the next pit stop – along with removing my thermal base layer for the 20 degree Scottish sunshine (basically the last we saw on the trip…….); this was however the day that I got my first blister…. 

Day 2 – to Fort William – another awesome day. Picked up a guy named Sean who is the cyclosport journalist (read – excellent cyclist) who joined our snazzy and speedy peloton mid way through the day racing along loch ness, ended up averaging 15.6 miles an hour (my best of the trip) and to top it all off my parents were at Fort William base camp to see me. Hooray. Oh – I also got propositioned by Lewis Moody (slightly in my head – but he did offer to “stretch out my hamstring” – and we all know what that means?!).

Day 3 – Fort William to Glasgow: hit a metaphorical brick wall with the knees (which I had injured when I got hit by a car 6 weeks prior to the ride). Collapsed by the side of the road in tears at mile 10 (PATHETIC!!!!!). Told by the medics that I couldn’t go on, so waved goodbye to my cycling pals Sean and Chris and prepared for the Broom Wagon…. Couldn’t quite do it though, so thought, hang on a tick – if I at least cycle slowly and get as far as I can then surely that is better than giving up completely?! Even if I only get to mile 60 before I get swept up by the elusive broom wagon then that’s better than nothing?! I kept thinking about all the money I had raised and how awful it would be to have to tell everyone that I hadn’t made it – that I’d GIVEN UP!!! How could I do it?! Now by this point, I was the LAST PERSON ON THE COURSE. Literally the last person. So I just put my head down, cycled on, and made it to pit stop 1 in time to overtake 3 people and hit Glen Coe with a chaperone and another straggler called Mark. 

Then I followed Andy Cook (course director and cycling hero) for the next 15 miles at a decent pace before going it alone for the last 20 and literally sobbing my way across the finish line before spending the entire evening sporadically bursting into tears around various strangers. 

Day 4 – Chris had agreed to cycle with me and get out early to give my knees a warm up – the phsyio thought that the problem was going too quickly too fast and that I needed to warm them up a bit first each day…. The plan being that I’d see how I felt at pit stop 1 and then he could go with a faster crew if I wasn’t up to it and I could still drop back as there would be plenty of people behind me. That didn’t happen of course, the poor guy couldn’t shake me for the whole rest of the trip – poor thing!!! 

Day 5 – First day in England! Carlisle to Aintree – another really long day…. Pretty flat (other than the ominous Shap Fell which was in fog and like cycling at night time) but seemed to go on FOREVER…. Also had the achievement of passing the half way mark on day 5 so picked up a coffee (A highlight of the day for everyone though had been that morning; stopping at a school just before Shap Fell where the school children were so excited they were asking cyclists for their autographs – so some poor kid has “Chris Warren” on a scrap of paper to cherish always!

Day 6 – Aintree to Ludlow – this was a nice easy day; hooray!!! Getting out of Liverpool was messybut after that it was flat country lanes so we got a good little peloton going with loads of “tag alongs” trying to join our little chain gang; and with me even managing to take my turn at the front for a change – felt good finally being able to give something back!!! It was however another wet day after Shap; and it gets cold to stop, so a coffee stop in a warm pub was much appreciated that day. S

Day 7 – Ludlow to Wincanton – the worst day of my life. Literally. 121 miles and 8,500 ft of climbing –they warned us it was the hardest day, and gale force head winds and a hail storm as well as the impact of the Somerset hills on my knees really didn’t help things…… All I remember is going really well until mile 90 – even tucked away a magnum in the sun – yum yum. And then it all went wrong…. when we crossed the line at Wincanton there were loads of people’s friends and family cheering and it sent me over the edge; I just started sobbing and the boys shepherded me to the bike racks and racked my bike whilst I cried myself literally dry of all tears before showering – some nice chap let me in front of him in the queue having taken one look at my face: the kindness of strangers is amazing in that kind of environment. And then I sobbed again in my tent, and again quietly on the phone to my dad that night – I think he was really worried about me…..

Day 8 – Wincanton to Launceston; oddly a better day – despite waking up and the idea of getting on a bike making me want to kill myself. We took the day really slowly and the 106 miles didn’t seem to awful – even with the 8000 ft of climbing…. Stopping for coffee and carrot cake in Honiton High Street might have helped a little (although – as Chris had warned me - the extra large latte did recur on me for the next 40 miles…..)…. And cycling with a larger group was fun again too – 3 more joined our group including a girl in so much pain she was white as a sheet. Another nice surprise waiting for me was that at 6p.m as we turned up at Launceston my Aunt and Uncle were waiting for me with a massive bar of chocolate!! So nice to see them and have a big hug.

Day 9 – Launceston to Lands End Baby! Only 93 miles, but woke up not wanting to cycle, spent the whole day not wanting to cycle and ended the day HATING my bike and considering never cycling again. Also, another highlight, this was also the first day I properly fell off my bike (going so slowly up a hill I cycled into a ditch…) and rolled in the road in the mud…. A cycling (and life come to think of it) low point. It rained all day. There were gale force head winds. I was so cold I was shaking, and my knees were killing me from the moment I got out of my tent to the moment I walked through my front door at midnight that night. Thank god for Chris and Sean. Chris stayed with me all day – coaxed me up the hills and picked me off the floor when I fell off; whilst Sean waited at check points with hot coffee for us. Awesome boys! It was also the day however that we saw St Michaels Mount and the day we knew we were going to finish so at least I knew I wouldn’t have to blo*dy well cycle again for a few days at least afterwards…..

It was pretty amazing crossing the line, but not as emotional as I’d expected – probably because I had already cried so much that day already…. And every other day…. Looking back it really was awesome though – an amazing experience and one I’ll always remember. 

Jess