James pedals to Pompey’s ground to spread the word

IN THE SADDLE  James de la Rue outside Fratton Park.  Picture: Sarah Standing (121290-7899)
IN THE SADDLE James de la Rue outside Fratton Park. Picture: Sarah Standing (121290-7899)

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PROUD dad James de la Rue is so inspired by his daughter’s love of reading that he’s pedalling round the country to spread the word.

The 35-year-old is cycling to the home of every Championship football club in a bid to raise cash for Volunteer Reading Help, a national charity which helps youngsters who struggle with literacy.

He came up with the idea because his daughter Amy, four, loves learning to read – and he wants others to have the same opportunity.

James started his mammoth 925-mile journey at Middlesbrough Football Club two weeks ago.

And he clocked up his 20th club visit when he turned up at Fratton Park.

He had a look round Pompey’s ground for 20 minutes before setting off on the final leg of his journey.

Yesterday he visited Southampton’s St Mary’s Stadium and this weekend he will pedal to Reading FC and Bristol City before finishing at Cardiff City on Sunday.

There, James will be greeted by his wife Alice, 34, and Amy.

James, who comes from Nottingham, said: ‘Amy loves me reading to her and she’s getting to that age where she has started picking it up herself.

‘I want every child to have the same opportunity to read like my daughter has.’

The News has launched a literacy campaign, Read All About It, to encourage children to read.

James said: ‘If kids don’t have access to books then their reading skills will ultimately suffer.

‘That thought has been at the front of my mind throughout this challenge.’

James admitted that the challenge had been tougher than he expected.

‘It was slightly easier at first but then I pulled my hamstring in my left leg whilst I was cycling to Burnley.

‘Since then my leg has been quite swollen and I’ve been nursing the pain by doing stretches and taking ibuprofen.

‘My leg seems to have given up but I think it’s realised that it isn’t going to make me give up.

‘Fortunately I’ve been reasonably lucky with the weather.

‘I’m really into cycling but I’ve never taken on something of this scale before.’

So far James has managed to raise half of his £2,400 target amount for the national charity through donations from family and friends.

To donate visit justgiving.com/championshipchallenge