Like daughter, like mother: Nurse’s pedal power for Mercy Ships inspired by doctor daughter

Like daughter, like mother: Nurse’s pedal power for Mercy Ships inspired by doctor daughter

A nurse from Belfast City Hospital is cycling 89 miles around the largest lake in the British Isles to raise funds for Mercy Ships after being inspired by her daughter.

Grandmother of three, Nina Bleakley, from Portadown, will be pedalling her way around Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland to mark turning 60, while supporting the charity her daughter spent a year volunteering for.

Renal nurse, Nina, learnt about Mercy Ships when her general surgeon daughter Anna Bleakley, who works at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, volunteered for a year on the hospital ship the Africa Mercy in 2017.

Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class healthcare services, including surgery and training to strengthen and support countries in the developing world that need it most.

Nina said: “She was so impressed by the organisation, and I am too. The work they do is so incredible – the operations completely change people lives.

“Some people have been struggling on for years with conditions that we deal with so quickly and easily in the west. Mercy Ships helps people get access to the medical care that we take for granted.”

Nina has been busy cycling three times a week, sometimes up to 126 miles in a week, and hopes to raise £1,200. But she says her aim is to also volunteer for Mercy Ships too.

The mum-of-three said, “I work as a renal nurse, but I have been putting in extra shifts in surgical wards in order to gain more experience in volunteering for Mercy Ships. Until I can physically be there myself, I want to support their work in other ways.”

Nina will be cycling around Lough Neagh on August 28th.

To sponsor her in her challenge visit Catharina Bleakley is fundraising for Mercy Ships (

Thank you so much, Nina, for doing your challenge!