A CYCLING challenge from Big Ben to a Vale village has raised more than £5,000 towards a life-changing operation for a toddler who cannot walk unaided.
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 second ‘Big Ben 2 Ben’ cycling event saw 40 riders leave the capital at 5am on Saturday (June 18) on a challenging 125-mile journey to The Fish and Anchor in Offenham.
The cyclists, who completed the race in ten hours, returned to a party atmosphere at the pub, which hosted a raffle, games for the children, a pig roast and live music from local band Satellite Down.
Emma Bell, Ben’s mum said: “After the week we had with heavy rain we were worried about the event, but the rain held off and the surrounding countryside was shining upon the cyclists’ arrival at Offenham. It was fantastic.
“Apart from a few punctures it all went smoothly and David Williams did a great job organising the event again.
“We had fantastic support and lots of people turned up. The team arrived back to a huge crowd and Ben cycled the last few metres with them on his specialist trike, with his brother Ollie at his side.
“Ben has received amazing support over the last year and we now have more than £30,000 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.
“Overall it was a huge success and we hope to have a final total within the next few weeks.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/bigben2ben or www facebook.com/bensfirststeps to find out more about Ben and upcoming fund-raising events.