A Horsham couple, a civil engineer and diabetes and travel nurse, are going on an international volunteering expedition to Cambodia late this year.
Joyce Skeet, a practice nurse at Holbrook Surgery, and her husband, Robert, a retired civil engineer, are going to use their experience and skills in community projects in the South East Asian country.
Joyce, originally from Ireland, is swimming the distance from Holyhead, UK to Dunlaoghaire, Ireland - 68 miles or 4,360 lengths - in the local Pavilions pool to raise funds for medical equipment and a transport vehicle for Cambodian doctors and nurses to travel to rural clinics.
She has so far raised almost £500 and swam more than 2,500 lengths, on average completing more than 100 each day.
The diabetes specialist who will work in a local clinic said: “They have a huge diabetes problem.
“With the poverty and the high diet of rice - a high carb diet - they have a lot of diabetics.”
She added: “In Cambodia if one is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes it’s pretty much a death sentence - you have to buy the medication and their income is pretty low.”
The couple will be staying in small houses by a local school, where Joyce added, there is a ‘huge’ pond the pupils drink from due to poor water and drainage facilities.
Joyce said: “It’s a pretty impoverished country so its schools are in need of a lot of tender love and care.”
Robert plans to use his engineering skills with others in the group to improve the education facilities and infrastructure.
Joyce added: “It’s going to be a learning curve for everybody.
“It’s in the tropical climate in the rainy season, so it’s going to be an interesting couple of weeks.”
The couple are also bringing a ‘huge bag’ of precription glasses with them.
Holbrook Surgery have promoted the couple’s charitable efforts on their website.
Joyce said: “The surgery have been very supportive.
“At the end I’m planning on retiring, this will be something of the end of my nursing career but I shall be back to a nurse diabetic clinic one day a week with the clinic.”
To follow Joyce and Robert’s expedition, visit their website.