A seven-year-old boy will become one of the youngest people to cycle between London and Paris as he raises money for a charity that supported him after his father’s death.
Rupert Brooke, from Leicestershire, has already raised more than £11,500 for the Children’s Bereavement Centre, almost a week before he starts the challenge.
He said cycling reminded him of the time spent with his dad, who taught him how to ride a bike. Rupert’s father, Tom, died in an accident at work when his son was four years old.
“My ‘Daddy Pig’ was my favourite person in the whole world,” said Rupert. “He was the person I went to for everything: he made me laugh, he made me feel safe and he loved me so much.
“And then he was gone … Nothing was ever the same again and my life was changed for ever.”
He said the Children’s Bereavement Centre had supported him and his mother, Jess, as they processed the loss.
“They helped me to understand the difficult feelings I was having and introduced me to other children who know how I feel so that we could have fun together and feel less alone,” he explained.
“I want to raise money for the Children’s Bereavement Centre so they can help more people like Mummy and me.”
From 6 July, Rupert will be covering 50 miles each day for four days alongside his mum.
“I’m incredibly proud of Rupert, he takes my breath away,” she said. “It’s really hard to believe that he does so well at just seven, particularly after losing his dad.
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge. It’s taken a lot of organisation and just to get going now will be really fun. I’ve got no doubt he’s going to do really well and make it to Paris.”
Kate Baxter, CEO of the charity, told BBC News that Rupert was “a real inspiration” and said: “We are absolutely thrilled Rupert has decided to support the Children’s Bereavement Centre by taking on this amazing challenge.
“It’s an achievement for anyone to cycle 200 miles from London to Paris but for a seven-year-old boy, as far we are aware the youngest known person to cycle this route, to take on this epic journey is incredible.”