A six-year-old boy who lives in Stone, Staffordshire, has embarked on a 113-bike ride from his birthplace, Northampton, to Tower Bridge in London to raise money for a hospice after being inspired by the story of a girl named Tilly. Halfway through his journey, he has already beaten his £1,000 fundraising target.
Edward Dyster set out on the trip with his parents Emma and Steve last Friday, with the family aiming to cover 24 miles per day to arrive in the capital on Wednesday, mainly riding routes forming part of the National Cycle Network.
While that might avoid the traffic, it clearly doesn’t miss the typical British bank holiday weather we’re ‘enjoying,’ adding an extra element to his challenge.
The youngster came up with the idea for the fund raising trip after staff from Donna Louise Children’s Hospice in Stoke on Trent visited him and his classmates at Christ Church First School and told them about their work.
“I wanted to help the children at the hospice,” Edward told the Staffordshire Newsletter. “We learned about it at school and about Tilly, who needed a wheelchair.
“I am really looking forward to riding all the way to London,” he continued. “I love riding my bike. I hope I can raise £1,000 to help other children.”
That target has already been achieved, but there is still plenty of time to sponsor Edward via his Just Giving page, on which he reveals: “I started on a balance bike at 2 years old and was riding my own bike by the age of 3 years.
“In fact because I grew so fast I found it easier to ride than to run when I was small, but I'm dead fast at both now!”
His mother, Emma, said: “When Edward was asked what he would like to do for a holiday, he said he wanted to cycle to Tower Bridge. He often cycles between fifteen and twenty miles, but the big challenge will be to do it day after day.”
Father Steve, described on Edward’s Just Giving page as “a bigger lover of bikes than me,” added: “It is a really positive thing to do. Not only is he raising money for a great cause, he is also taking on a big challenge and doing something he has dreamed of doing.
“He’ll gain self-confidence and selfesteem while doing something to benefit others. We are sure he can do it.
“If it weren’t for the National Cycle Network, this kind of family cycling expedition would be very difficult,” he added.
Last year, seven-year-old Charlie Simpson from London was named Most Popular Fundraiser of 2010 at the Just Giving Awards, after pedalling around his local park in Fulham with the aim of raising £500 for the Unicef Haiti Earhquake Appeal – his efforts in fact resulted in more than £200,000 of donations to the charity.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.