POMONAL - Pomonal resident, Len Martin, is planning another trip overseas to raise funds for a Cambodian charity known as Cambodian Children's Fund.
Len, who cycled around Cambodia in 2007, Mongolia in 2008 and Vietnam in 2009, will be travelling to Myanmar (or Burma) in March to take part in another ride, this time of about 700 kilometres.
The charity Cambodian Children's Fund came to Len's attention when it was featured on television programs Australian Story and Poh's Kitchen last year.
Cambodian Children's Fund was started eight years ago by Scott Neeson, an Australian citizen who had become a well-paid film director in Hollywood. After working hard for some years he took a holiday in Cambodia - and it changed his life.
Scott could not believe what he saw in Phnom Penh, with homeless children wandering around and scrounging in rubbish bins trying to find something to eat or to sell.
A friend of his then took him to the rubbish dump on the edge of the city. If the streets of Phnom Penh had disturbed him, when he saw this vile, stinking place he was completely overwhelmed and distressed. It was a square kilometre in size and 30 metres deep. Families were living on it and children were trying to gather whatever rubbish might be suitable for eating or re-cycling.
Len has visited the rubbish dump himself and has experienced first-hand the vile slush and the putrid stench which is always there.
Scott then returned to the United States, but couldn't get these children out of his mind, so eventually he sold everything he owned, including his house and his car, gave up his job and went to live in Phnom Penh.
There are now more than 700 children receiving education, health care and employment opportunities.
Len said it was his privilege last year to be taken on an escorted tour over all that is being done.
"I have visited Cambodia on quite a few occasions and am well aware of the tremendous need in this impoverished country, which is still recovering from the murderous regime of Pol Pot," Len said.
"My experiences there have made me very passionate about Scott's work and all that is being done, so I am really happy to dedicate this ride to raising some funds to help the children there."
Anyone interested in assisting Len with his cause, can phone him on 5356 6183 or post to L Martin, 1 Cassell Court, Pomonal, 3381. All donations will receive a receipt from the Australian office of Cambodian Children's Care and any above $2 directed towards the education or child sponsorship programs, are tax deductible.
A former footballer with Ballarat East, Len, who is 76 years of age, gained a reputation during his playing career for his disciplined and dedicated approach to hard training.
He said this had been something he always carried with him.
"It was just a natural extension of this when I went to live at Hall's Gap in 1972 (for 'one year') to jog each evening up to the Pinnacle as part of a 20 kilometre run around the mountain tracks," Len said.
"In my 50s I started running marathons, with a personal best time of two hours, 48 minutes at age fifty five.
"Unfortunately my knee cartilage wore out so I was forced to take up cycling."
This is what led Len to participating in the fundraising events in Vietnam, Cambodia and Mongolia.