Bold Ashley is riding high for hospital unit

ONESIE Ashley Gough practising for her bike ride. Picture: Allan Hutchings (133307-172)
ONESIE Ashley Gough practising for her bike ride. Picture: Allan Hutchings (133307-172)
Cynthia and Alan Lock at home in Holybourne Road, Havant. PICTURE: Habibur Rahman (170906)

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SPIRITED Ashley Gough has never let her condition get her down.

The 12-year-old was born with a cleft lip and palate and has endured more than a dozen operations to correct them, along with hearing problems.

But, instead of feeling sorry for herself, she spends her time coming up with fundraising ideas for other children in difficult situations.

Previously she has raised money for Children in Need.

And tomorrow she will be joined by her mum Abby and three friends for a ride from her home in Leigh Park to South Parade Pier in Southsea.

It will raise funds for a specialist unit for correcting cleft palates at Salisbury Hospital.

Just a few days later, she has arranged a school disco at Park Community School, for the same good cause.

The youngster, of Billy’s Copse, Leigh Park, said: ‘I’m doing the bike ride because I really want to say “thank you” to the hospital that has done all my operations.

‘It’s quite a long way but I do a lot of bike riding with my friends to a lot of places so I’ve had a lot of practice. I’m going to be wearing my onesie with pink moustaches on it.’

Ashley had her first operation aged six months and has had at least one a year since.

Her mum Abby, a 29-year-old learning support assistant at South Downs College in Waterlooville, said: ‘It hasn’t been easy for Ashley but she is a very confident and happy little girl.

‘We have always told her how beautiful she is.

‘Although she’s quite shy when she meets new people, once she gets to know you, you can’t shut her up. We are so proud of her.

The ride is more than eight miles but Ashley is determined to do it.

‘She has roped me in, three of her lovely school friends and one of their mums,’ said Abby

Ashley is looking for raffle prizes to give away at the disco next week. If you would like to donate a prize, or sponsor Ashley, call 07869 003488, or email absgough@hotmail.co.uk.