Children from Abbey Road School are today (Friday, 30th June) doing a 24-hour sponsored bike ride to raise money for charities that helped two fellow pupils – one who recently had open heart surgery and the other who has just been diagnosed with Diabetes.
Starting at 9am this morning pupils began riding relay style around the 1 km course on the school’s playing fields. Staff and parents are also joining in, and it’s expected that more than a thousand will have taken part by the time the event finishes at 9am tomorrow.
The challenge has been organised by the school’s bike club to raise money for Heartlink, which supported Year 5 pupil George Mosely as he underwent life-saving heart surgery, and for Diabetes UK, which helped another Year 5 pupil, Harry Steel, who recently learnt he has Type 1 Diabetes.
Penny Briscoe, Director of Sport at the British Paralympic Association, came to the school to officially open the event and lead the countdown as the first pupils started cycling this morning.
Speaking to the children before the ride began, she said: “What you’re doing is not only about you having fun and getting fit but you’re actually giving and doing something really amazing for other people.”
Throughout the day classes are coming out in turn to do their 20-minute cycling slots. And once the school day is over pupils and their families will stay on or return later to keep the cycling going through the evening and night. There also will be singing round a campfire at 6pm tonight and everyone has been invited to bring picnics or portable BBQs.
Headteacher of Abbey Road, Ly Toom, said: “I’m incredibly proud of our children, staff and parents for throwing themselves into this challenge with such gusto. Our school community has been inspired by Harry and George’s stories and it’s pulled together in the most heart-warming way to help others in their situation. Huge thanks go out to Helen Dussek, the teacher who runs Abbey Road School’s bike club, who has organised this amazing event.”
10-year-old George Mosley, a member of the bike club, had an aortic valve reconstruction at Glenfield Hospital earlier this year, after being born with a heart defect. Without the surgery, his condition would ultimately have been fatal. Thankfully the surgery was a great success and George is now back to full fitness.
Julie Mosely, George’s mum, said: “We hadn’t expected him to need the surgery so soon; it was a very traumatic and nerve-wracking time. Heartlink offered us invaluable support, providing accommodation so we could stay in the hospital with him and liaison nurses to help us through the emotional side of what was happening. We’ve been overwhelmed by the efforts the school has made to get behind George and now Heartlink.”
Fellow bike club member Harry Steel, also aged 10, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes after becoming very poorly earlier this year. He now has to inject insulin 4 times a day and test his blood sugar levels 8 times a day.
His mother, Nicola Steel, said: “After he was diagnosed Harry bounced back quickly and was back on his bike within 10 days, but as things stand he will have to be on medication for the rest of his life. We cannot thank the school enough for what they are doing. Diabetes UK funds research into how the condition can be better managed in the future. It gives families like us hope that one day we won’t have to be dependent on insulin injections.”
Breakfast is being laid on by the school for all the riders still there as the challenge reaches its final hour and they welcome any other members of the community who want to come down and support the event or donate at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/abbeyroadbikeclub
Over £600 has already been raised online and once all sponsorship is collected it’s anticipated the total will be over £1000. The funds will be evenly split between Heartlink, Diabetes UK and Abbey Road School Fund.