Skipton funeral director Vicki Howcroft got on her bike to help improve the health of women and babies.

Vicki joined the Women for Women Cycle China event, riding 450km through the province of Beijing and raising more than £3,300 for Genesis Research Trust.

A veteran of the Great North Run, she decided to sign up for her first long-distance cycle challenge because, before having her children, Rosie, seven, and Donnabhan, five, she suffered a number of miscarriages and had difficulty conceiving.

“I wanted to help other women have a family,” she said. “And being a fourth generation funeral director, I’ve seen the devastation that losing a child causes and how losing a parent affects young children.”

The money raised by the ride will be spent on medical research to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a range of conditions affecting women and their babies.

“I thought the ride would be a really good thing to do,” Vicki said. “I knew it would be challenging. It was very tough on the mountain climbs.

“The weather was very disappointing. It was meant to be between 22 and 28 degrees, but was actually about six degrees and very misty and sometimes wet. We stopped in a village one day, which had a market and cleared them out of gloves and warm socks.”

But she was spurred on by the moving stories of the other 92 women, including TV presenter Fern Britton.

And, on the last two nights, the group was joined by Lord Robert Winston, fertility pioneer and chairman of Women for Women.

“He is a very genuine man, who obviously has a great love for his work,” said Vicki, who, along with the other women, has been invited to a reception at the House of Lords in May, where Lord Winston will reveal the final total raised.