Lewisham woman, 82, bikes up Mont Ventoux to raise Gaza aid funds

Anne Jones cycling up the mountain
Anne Jones completed the cycle in six hours [PA Media]

An 82-year-old grandmother has taken on one of the Tour de France's most famous mountains to raise funds for aid to Gaza.

Anne Jones, from Lewisham, south London, rode 20km (12 miles) up Mont Ventoux in southern France to support Amos Trust's Gaza appeal.

She battled hail, rain and fog as she cycled for six hours to the climb's summit at 1,910m (6,270ft) above sea level.

Ms Jones raised £13,000 for the appeal.

The grandmother-of-six said she was "delighted" to have completed the feat and hoped it would change the "assumptions" people make when they see "an old face".

"I want to encourage people to get out there," said the retired psychotherapist and social worker.

"There are a lot of people who get to 65 and think their age means they can't do things but my message is they can."

Anne Jones and her support crew
Ms Jones took on the ride with a support crew [PA Media]

Ms Jones was first inspired to take on the mountain known as the "Beast of Provence" during a cycling trip last summer with Amos Trust director Chris Rose.

She said she felt she had a "responsibility" to tackle the feat for the people of Palestine.

"I would rather use my time this way than wringing my hands in despair and anguish," she wrote on her JustGiving page.

"Over 11,000 Palestinian children killed is 11,000 too many, just as each Israeli killed is one too many."

In a statement released after the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October 2023, the Amos Trust said it "condemn[ed]" both the "brutality of Hamas's attack" and "the severity of Israel's retribution".

Anne Jones surrounded by fog holding a Palestinian flag
Ms Jones, who battled fog, hail and rain on her ride, said she was "delighted" to have completed the challenge [PA Media]

A team of people, including Mr Rose and Megan Williams from Amos Trust, accompanied Ms Jones for the ride.

Ms Williams said the octogenarian was an "inspiration to us all".

Ms Jones said she had also received a lot of support from family, friends and people in Gaza.

"There's been so many donations, it's really quite overwhelming and that was another motivation because you don't want to let people down," she added.

Mont Ventoux
Mont Ventoux is one of the best known climbs used in the Tour de France [Getty Images]

Ms Jones now plans to continue her volunteer work in Calais where she offers English lessons and helps refugees mend their clothes.

She has previously volunteered in places including India and Romania.

Listen to the best of BBC Radio London on Sounds and follow BBC London on Facebook, X and Instagram. Send your story ideas to hello.bbclondon@bbc.co.uk