Caring punters pedal to help baby Sophia

Fundraisers at the Brewers Arms in Milton Road, Eastney where they cycled to from Southampton General Hospital. Pictured front right is  L-R baby Sophia Sizer-Hellard 7 months, dad Robbie Sizer 30, sisters Phoebe Sizer 5 and Mollie-Mae Hellard 12.  Picture: Paul Jacobs  (123259-1)
Fundraisers at the Brewers Arms in Milton Road, Eastney where they cycled to from Southampton General Hospital. Pictured front right is L-R baby Sophia Sizer-Hellard 7 months, dad Robbie Sizer 30, sisters Phoebe Sizer 5 and Mollie-Mae Hellard 12. Picture: Paul Jacobs (123259-1)

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WHEN a team of caring pub regulars heard about the plight of a young girl, they sprung into action.

A team of 33 customers from The Brewer’s Arms, Milton, cycled across Portsmouth in fancy dress costumes in a bid to fund ongoing treatment for seven-month-old Sophia Sizer Hellard, who has kidney disease.

Sophia, who lives with her mum Becky Hellard in North End, Portsmouth, has been cared for by staff at Southampton General Hospital’s nephrology ward since her birth.

The fundraisers started their ride at the hospital at 8am on Saturday and arrived back at the pub four hours later.

They were greeted with cheers from friends and family and the pub marked their efforts by holding a family fun day.

Visitors were treated to a bouncy castle, barbecue, face painting and live music.

And the pub smashed its target of raising £4,000 for the ward thanks to a cake sale and raffle with donations from people on the day.

The final figure will be counted once all the riders’ sponsor forms are collected. Jo Clarke Johnstone, landlady of The Brewer’s Arms, said she was overwhelmed by customers’ contributions.

‘It was an amazing day,’ she said.

‘I’ve been close friends with Sophia’s parents Becky and Robbie for years so when I heard about what was going on, I knew I had to get the people at my pub involved.

‘Their daughter has spent most of her life in hospital.

‘It really means a lot to me that everyone donated so much.

‘We reckon we’ll end up raising about £10,000.

‘Sometimes when you put something on which has drink involved it can lead to trouble.

‘But that definitely hasn’t been the case.

‘Everyone got together and had a great time.’

Brewer’s Arms barmaid Nicky Vaughan, whose partner Daniel Jenkinson, 30, did the ride dressed as an Oompa Loompa from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, said: ‘Daniel and I are close friends with Sophia’s family so it wasn’t just a work thing. We were keen to help out in whatever way we could.

‘It’s been a tough time for the family so it was nice to get everyone together at the pub afterwards. The atmosphere when the riders arrived was brilliant.

‘Everyone stayed until late in the evening. I’m really proud of Daniel’s efforts.’