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Tharston schoolgirl to ride 25 miles around village to raise money for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices



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A nine-year-old has pledged to take on a 25-mile bike ride to raise money for charity.

Ella-May Saunders will be cycling around her home village of Tharston in memory of James Thorndyke, who died from a rare genetic disease just before his first birthday.

The Aslacton Primary School pupil will be raising money for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (Each), which cared for James up until his death in 2019.

Ella-May pictured with her mum, Louise; her dad, Jonny; and younger sister, Florence. Picture: Gary Donnison
Ella-May pictured with her mum, Louise; her dad, Jonny; and younger sister, Florence. Picture: Gary Donnison

Ella-May’s mum, Louise, explained how her daughter was preparing for the ride, which will be equidistant to cycling all the way from Diss to Norwich.

“She’s nervous and she’s excited,” she said. “We’re currently training every weekend – we’re going on long bike rides, just to make sure she’s ready.

“She’s a bit worried about how long it will take her, but even if it takes all day, then that’s fine, it takes all day.”

Ella-May has been consulting with doctors before she takes on the ride on April 2 – because she suffers from hypermobile joints.

“She’s working with a physio at the hospital to make sure it’s safe to do,” said Mrs Saunders, who works as a wedding organiser.

“To me, it makes me even more proud of her – because she’s got to be more determined than anyone else to do it.”

Ella-May will not be going at it alone; she will be joined by her mum, along with her dad, Jonny, 40, and younger sister, Florence, five, who will be following on a tandem bike.

James’ parents, Susie and Justin Thorndyke, who are close friends with Mrs Saunders, are also planning be at the finish line to congratulate Ella-May.

So far, she has raised more than £1,000, putting her half way towards her £2,000 target.

“She wants to hold the big cheque and show everyone how she’s done, added Mrs Saunders.

To donate to Ella-May’s fundraiser, click here.



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