THE family of tragic River Cottage chef Philippa Corbin have paid tribute to her ‘influence and inspiration’ as £65,000 is raised in her memory.

The Slow Ride to Turin saw 28 of Philippa’s friends and family cycling to Italy to raise awareness and funds for two causes helping sufferers of depression.

The 27-year-old, from Uplyme, took her own life in January 2011 while suffering from depression.

Philippa’s sister Maddy was among the cyclists, and her parents Pam and Hugh were part of the support team for the challenge in October last year.

Pam Corbin has this week announced that an ‘incredible’ £64,911.89 was raised for the Charlie Waller Trust and the Human Givens Foundation.

Mrs Corbin said: “Both charities focus on helping to prevent or relieve the overwhelming pain of depression and anxiety.

“We are thrilled, and this amazing total exceeds far more than we had ever imagined we would raise.”

The riders made an 800-mile pilgrimage from the River Cottage Canteen in Axminster to the slow food festival Salone del Gusto in Turin.

Philippa, who worked as a product developer and assistant manager for River Cottage, was a follower of slow food and would regularly go to the biennial festival in Italy.

Mrs Corbin said the journey was ‘extraordinarily special in so many ways’.

“We were blessed in countless ways,” she said.

“The weather, the camaraderie of the 28 cyclists, the amazing places we stayed, the lovely food and meals we all shared and a safe journey for everyone to Turin.

“The most moving time for me was the route from Chambery to Col de Cenis.

“Three breathtaking days of a cloudless alpine autumn, where it seemed we had the road to ourselves and everything was bathed in a golden light.

“Sunflowers, golden vines, vivid yellow leaves, sun-peaked mountains and finally, on the last morning, the yellow shuttered chapel on the mountainside.

“That same day, yet 60 miles later, our stream of yellow ducklings pedalled their way through the busy streets of Turin to arrive safely, and on time at the Lingotta Building.

“Two days later there was snow on our alpine route, we wouldn’t have made it then, quietly affirming the journey was meant to be.”

Mrs Corbin has thanked the cyclists, support crew, sponsors and everyone else who supported the challenge.

She said: “None of this would have happened but for the influence and inspirations of Philly who loved nothing more than to have an adventure with her friends and share some good food.

“But also, we could not have made this journey so successfully without your support.

“Thank you for sharing and making this journey possible – we know Philly would have loved it.”

The website is still active and features videos and blogs from the ride.