THE TRAVELLING community came out in force in a charity ride to show support for a teenager left in a critical condition after giving birth.
Complications in pregnancy have left Teegan Barnard, 17, fighting for her life while three week old newborn, Parker John, is cared for by his grandmother, Abbie Hallawell.
Teegan’s auntie, Clare Hallawell, said: ‘While there is life there is always hope but Teegan’s situation is critical. Today is about coming together to show our support for Teegan and to raise money for the family to help care for Parker.’
While Teegan was not part of the travelling community, her story touched the hearts of many travellers who decided to organise the ride, which started from the Horse and Jockey pub.
Clare said: ‘Teegan’s uncle, who asked not to be named, knows people in the travelling community. Travellers from around the country have been so supportive in arranging this event and also a charity boxing night.’
Around fifty pony traps carried collection buckets while riders returned to an evening of curry and music to raise further funds to add to the £6,000 already raised.
Traveller, Bill Cook, set off at 7.30am from Dartford to attend the event.
Bill said: ‘I heard about Teegan’s situation on social media and wanted to do something to help – it’s such a sad story. We hope to raise money to provide financial help but also give spiritual support to the family. I have been talking to someone who has travelled down from Middlesbrough. The ride is about showing solidarity behind Teegan - there is power in numbers.’
Fellow traveller, Jesse Goddard, added: ‘The community always likes to help good causes and we want to show our support for Teegan.’
The 15 mile circular route stopped at Portsdown Hill before returning to the Horse and Jockey via Denmead.
Pub landlord, Stephen Godsave, said: ‘The travelling community are not always treated fairly but they are some of the most polite people I know. Hopefully today has raised lots of money for Teegan’s family.’
Clare added: ‘Today is about bringing something good together and we are grateful to the support from the travelling community.’