Words by Smiley Team
A young boy is set to become the youngest known person to cycle from London to Paris.
Rupert Brooke, who is just seven years old, has started the 200-mile challenge in memory of his dad, Tom, and to raise money for a Nottinghamshire children’s bereavement charity.
His dad died in a tragic accident at work just over three years ago, which left Rupert devastated. It was Tom that taught Rupert to ride a bike, aged only four, and so he decided to do this challenge to make his dad proud.
Jess, Rupert’s mum, will join him on the challenge. They left London on Wednesday, 6th July and will cycle an average of 50 miles every day on the four-day adventure, a total of 200 miles.
“I am unbelievably proud of Rupert," she said. "Cycling has been a great focus for him since we lost his dad, and he is a really strong cyclist. Unfortunately, it won’t be long before he is faster than me!”
When Tom died, Rupert and Jess learnt to cope with the help and support of the Children’s Bereavement Centre in Newark, who offered advice, counselling and friendship.
Rupert wants to raise money for the centre so they can help more people like him and his mum. “Riding my bike reminds me of my short time with my daddy and that is why I’m doing it," he said. "I want to raise the money to help lots of other children like me, and to show my daddy that I can do it for him.”
Rupert’s off to a flying start with his fundraising, having achieved more than £11,100 already.
His campaign has been helped by the support of cycling professionals sharing his story. Friends, family and strangers inspired by his courage have also donated to the cause.
Rupert’s no stranger to physical challenge, having recently raised £8,590 for Vale of Belvoir hospice Dove Cottage by cycling up the area’s toughest hills. He’s also featured in a video for the Melton Sport and Health Alliance to inspire other youngsters to get fit.
He’s been training hard for his latest challenge, spurred on by other young cyclists in the Rockets, the junior arm of the Leicester Forest Cycling Club. He’s also had a successful first season racing in the Mallory Park Road Race League and other local under 8s events.
DONATE: If you’d like to read more about his story or donate to Rupert’s Mega Ride in memory of his dad, visit his JustGiving page.
SUPPORT: The Children’s Bereavement Centre is based in Newark, Nottinghamshire. It provides help and support to young people aged 3 to 18 who have experienced the death or terminal illness diagnosis of someone close. Find out more.