A CYCLING challenge from Big Ben to a Vale village has been organised to raise cash to give a toddler who cannot walk unaided the chance to take his first steps.
Three-year-old Ben Harris-Bell, from North Littleton, has Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy, but a costly operation in America would reduce stiffness, stop pain and give him the chance to learn how to sit, crawl and walk.
The Big Ben 2 Ben cycling event, now in its second year, will see 40 riders leave the capital at 6am on Saturday (June 18) and make the challenging 125 mile journey to The Fish and Anchor in Offenham, in the same day.
The cyclists, who hope to complete the race in ten hours, will return to a party atmosphere where the pub will host a raffle, games for the children, a pig roast and live music from local band Satellite Down.
Emma Bell, Ben’s mum said: “The event last year was much bigger than what I thought it was going to be and was a real buzz.
“This year we’re hoping to make it even bigger and better with a bouncy castle , stalls and a wide range of activities for the kids, while the adults can enjoy a drink or two in the sun from 1.30pm.
“Hopefully Ben can join the team on his specialist trike as they enter the pub grounds. He has received amazing support over the last year and we now have £38,000 of the £60,000 needed for Ben to undergo the operation in America, which has to be done by the end of this year latest.
“I could never have got this far without the support of local people and businesses. From donating items for raffle prizes, to taking on challenges to raise money. It really is humbling.”
David Williams, organiser of the event said: “Despite it being a great race last year, it was a disaster for me to begin with as the chain broke on my bike just 500m from Big Ben.
“It was a massive challenge and one of the best things I’ve ever done. We managed to raise more than £6,000 and we hope to push on from that amount this year.
“The route we’ll be taking has increased by two miles to cover 125 miles of B roads, with the biggest climb coming at Bourton-on-the-Water. The final stages are the hardest but well worth it and it’s for such a good cause.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/bigben2ben to donate to the riders or visit www facebook.com/bensfirststeps to find out more about Ben and upcoming fund-raising events.