Memory of Oakley spurs on mum for 100-mile cycle

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Back row, Scott Ware, Colin England, Keith and Karen Thripp, Pete Glover. Front row, Zoe England with children Alyssa, Kimberly and Kealie ''Picture: Keith Woodland

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MORE than 20 determined cyclists took part in a 100-mile bike ride to support a charity set up on the request of a young boy who died from a rare cancer.

Lorraine Waterman led the 21 women as they left Privett Park in Gosport heading to Worthing.

The cyclists set off and, inset, Oakley

The cyclists set off and, inset, Oakley

Lorraine and husband Dave, 35, lost their six-year-old son Oakley in 2005 after he was diagnosed with the rare cancer rhabdomyosarcoma in 2003.

The couple run the Oakley Waterman Caravan Foundation, which offers holidays in two caravans to families with children who have life threatening illnesses.

While on holiday little Oakley had told mum Lorraine he wanted other families to enjoy the fun he had on holiday – and the foundation was born.

And it is her thoughts of Oakley that will push Lorraine on during the cycle.

Lorraine, 38, of Ham Lane in Elson, Gosport, said: ‘I’ll just concentrate on Oakley, I’m doing it for him – it’s his wish, he wanted this and I’ve just got to keep going.

‘I’ll get to the point where I’m just so tired I want to cry but I need to carry on for him.

‘Everyone’s sharing the same emotion, there are a lot of people here who have lost members of family and they’ll be thinking about the family they’ve lost.’

The cycle ride saw the 21 women cycle to Worthing before returning to Gosport.

Together they have already raised an impressive £5,606 for the foundation and hope to hit their £10,000 target.

The cash will go towards the £20,000 -a-year upkeep of the foundation’s two caravans, one in Church Farm Holiday Village, Pagham, near Chichester and one in Devon Cliffs in Exmouth.

More than 250 families have stayed at the caravans since Lorraine and David bought the caravans in 2005 and 2007.

Helen Black, 34, of Langstone Road in Milton, Portsmouth, is one of the cyclists supporting the foundation.

She said: ‘I’ve probably not trained as much as last year – that’s probably due to the weather.

‘There are eight or nine of us from last year – most of us are new.

‘I met Oakley a couple of times and he was beautiful. The charity is such an amazing one to support, as it helps ill children. If I can make one child smile then it’s worth it.’

A support team of six followed the cycle team on their journey.

To donate to the Oakley Waterman Caravan Foundation, go to