Schoolgirl Lucy Barker plans to take on a mammoth cycle ride – in memory of the sister she never got to know.
The 12-year-old, a pupil at Whitburn Church of England Academy, is taking on the coast-to-coast bike challenge, which stretches more than 130 miles from Whitehaven in Cumbria to Roker in Sunderland.
But it’s not the first time she has proved her pedal power – Lucy first did the coast-to-coast when she was just 10.
Lucy said: “The big climbs are quite difficult but I wanted to raise money to help the unit where my little sister was born.”
Lucy is raising money for the Maternity Unit at South Tyneside District Hospital, in memory of her sister, Isla, who was stillborn in 2009. Last year, she did the same ride and raised over £500 for the unit. Her first ride raised £370 towards a new scout hut in East Boldon, where she lives with mum, Sarah, 40, dad, Paul, 38, and brother, Jack, nine.
In appreciation of Lucy’s efforts, she was invited to visit the unit.
Sarah, who will accompany Lucy on the ride along with Paul, said: “Lucy loves babies so she was thrilled to have the opportunity to look around. We are very proud of her and it’s fantastic that she wanted to do the ride for her sister.”
She added: “Lucy is very active and loves to be on her bike. The coast-to-coast ride is really tough and some adult riders train for it for months.
“She doesn’t flinch going up the mountains, although sometimes she cries when she gets to the top because she has worked so hard to get there.”
Derek Curry, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s clinical business manager, women, children and family services, said: “We were delighted to show Lucy round.
“She is an inspirational girl and we’re very grateful for her fundraising efforts.”