Emsworth seven-year-old gears up for mammoth bike ride
A SCHOOLBOY will celebrate his seventh birthday by tackling a five-day cycling challenge for charity.
While most children enjoy parties and receiving gifts, Samuel Whitehead will mark his birthday by attempting to cycle 300km to raise funds for Widja’s Gear to Hear.
The trust supports two-year-old Widja, who lives in South Africa and needs cochlear implants to overcome her total hearing loss.
Samuel will tandem cycle with his father from Emsworth to Bath and back between May 30 and June 3. They aim to cycle between 80 and 95km each day, stopping over at Salisbury on the third day.
The St James’ Primary School pupil said: ‘I am very excited but it is going to be hard.
‘I have to go up some big hills, which is hard. I get lots of nice stuff for my birthday and want to do this cycle fundraise to be nice to Widja.’
Samuel’s mum, Jo-Anne Whitehead said: ‘Due to safety he will be doing a tandem ride but his dad will not give him an easy time and he will have to work to complete the challenge.
‘He is a determined and tenacious little boy with a kind heart. Although Widja is in another country and he is unlikely to ever meet her, he is desperate to make a difference in her life.’
The keen cyclist, who turned seven last week, also celebrated his birthday with other events, including going bowling.
Last year, Samuel raised £500 for the Widja’s Gear to Hear by completing a 50km Cycle Audax in 4hrs 30min and he is hoping to exceed that amount this year.
Mrs Whitehead said: ‘They were able to raise enough money in 2015 to have one implant fitted but the second needs to be done as soon as possible to give her the best chance of hearing.’
Samuel was awarded the Hampshire Road Club Junior Clubman Trophy and was voted best young rider in December.
He received the Portsmouth Cycle Touring Club Titch Award for outstanding achievement by a young rider.