A selfless schoolboy from Boyton has cycled 100 miles in three weeks for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).
Ashton, a pupil at Bawdsey Primary School, learnt how to ride his bike during the first lockdown and has hardly been off it since. Earlier this year, mum Jessica Mattin challenged him to ride 35km (22 miles), as part of home-schooling activities, which he achieved in just four days. He then requested a bigger challenge!
Jessica discussed with Ashton how he might be able to help others in the process. He said he wanted ‘to help children who are poorly feel happy’, and after doing some research online, they came across East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH). It was perfect timing as the charity was promoting its EACH Mile Counts fundraising campaign, encouraging people to run, walk or cycle 100 miles in February.
“This is the first fundraiser Ashton has done,” said Jessica. “I couldn’t be more proud of him, and I’m in awe of his determination. We follow the school’s timetable for home-schooling, finishing between 1.30pm and 2.30pm, then we go on a bike ride, finishing the day with a bath and some warm milk. Ashton cycles around our local area, and we’re lucky enough to live within cycling distance of Rendlesham Forest, so we cycle there, too. I try to keep up and provide the snacks! Thank you to everyone who has donated. Ashton has said he’s going to continue until the end of February to see how many more miles he can do!”
Ashton generally cycled 20-25 miles during the working weeks and 15-20 miles at the weekends, covering 5.5 miles in approximately one hour and 15 minutes. He rode across all types of terrain, even ploughing on through the snow, and has more than doubled his initial fundraising target of £500.
The money will go to EACH in a time when it has never needed more support, with the charity last month forecasting an operational deficit of £2 million over the next year following disruption to traditional fundraising activities and the closure of its shops during lockdowns. At the same time, EACH’s service has never been more important. With many families, it supports becoming exhausted from shielding and providing care alone.
If you would like to help EACH continue providing vital care for children and young people with life-threatening conditions and support for their families, please donate to Ashton’s fundraiser.