Sun, 25 Aug 2019
A THATCHAM boy has raised more than £1,500 after completing a gruelling charity bike ride.
Ethan Kuijten, aged 10, cycled from Holyhead in Wales back to Thatcham to raise money for BBC Children in Need.
Accompanied by his father Bart, the Francis Baily schoolboy covered 359 miles in 37 hours of cycling (not including rests).
The hilly route involved 6,564 metres of climbing – almost five times the height of Ben Nevis.
Ethan said: “I liked the bit between Bristol and Bath because it was very flat, but I also liked some of the uphills as they were very gradual, but the downhills were just generally fun.”
Ethan has raised £1,667.41, exceeding his £1,000 target and smashing his original aim of £350 – a pound for each mile covered.
He said he had chosen Children in Need because he watched the appeal every year and “felt sorry for the children that have their problems in their lives”.
He added: “I just thought I wanted to help with the fundraising.”
On beating his fundraising target, he said: “I wasn’t expecting to raise this much, but I’m grateful that I did.”
A keen cyclist and triathlete, Ethan is considering another charity challenge in the future, saying that he wants to cycle the 874 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats next year.
Speaking about his son’s achievement, Mr Kuijten said: “The ride, distance and hills were more difficult than Ethan and I expected, but he never considered giving up, even when the hills got steep and the rain wouldn’t stop.
“Ethan didn't stop smiling and never once complained.
“I’m so proud of what he achieved and thankful to all those people that supported him.”
Mother Sara said: “We’re so proud of how he’s done.
“Despite some really challenging big hills early on, a day of rain that soaked him to the skin and getting a sore knee towards the end of the cycle, he kept on going, always seeming to find new energy each morning and finishing in good spirits every evening.
“We are absolutely overwhelmed by the donations that have flooded in and feel so grateful for all the support.
“I know that the good wishes and words of encouragement especially helped spur Ethan on during his challenge.
“I know that this cycle ride has been a real experience for him and he'll have fond memories of spending time with his dad and conquering some huge hills... but equally I hope he has inspired some young people to take on new challenges and give something new a go, even if it seems daunting.”
To make a donation, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ethan-kuijten