A father and son cycling duo from Woodbridge, Charles and Thomas Liddy, are together taking on the Suffolk Sunrise 100 ride, on Sunday 7 May 2017. The organiser of the hugely popular ride, children's charity Action Medical Research, is making a special dispensation for Thomas, who is 12, as the minimum age is usually 16. They will ride the Classic 60-mile circular route to and from Framlingham College.
Charles Liddy got the cycling bug after he cycled 275 miles on the Action London to Paris (L2P) in July 2016. He was part of a team of 12 others from his employer company, Pure Storage, who joined forces with a team of 33 from partner digital management company Commvault, to cycle to the French capital raising more than £81,000 for the charity. An even larger team from Pure Storage is taking on the follow-on event, Paris to Geneva, in September this year.
Now the father's passion for pedalling has been passed to his son. After showing an interest in his dad's L2P training, Thomas began to join him, cycling five-six miles on his BMX.
"Thomas loved getting out with me and quickly became enthused about cycling. Then he wanted a road bike so he could take things further," says his dad Charles. "I agreed to pay him for some gardening jobs and weekend work so that he could save up for his bike upgrade."
A couple of months later, while the duo were cycling an unexplored route back home, they spotted the perfect bike for sale privately. "Thomas had made £70 at this point and the bike, a replica GB Olympic Dawes, was being sold for £75. He managed to knock the price down to £50 and the rest is history!"
The Liddy family were booked on a pre-Christmas visit to Centre Parcs Elveden Forest and the dynamic duo decided to cycle there, some 55 miles distance. "It was a very cold day with freezing fog. We stopped at around 25 miles and I asked if Thomas wanted to continue, amazingly he did. Another stop at 43 miles, with a sandwich and hot chocolate, and Thomas was still determined to continue. I'm very proud of him completing that distance."
Thomas says, "I saw Dad training last year and thought it looked like a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the ride down to Elveden Forest, despite the weather. I can’t wait for the Suffolk Sunrise 100 event and have a target to raise £500 for Action Medical Research by the end of April."
Thomas has even had a tailored training programme put together for him by the Director of Sport, Alex Brunt, at his school, Orwell Park. The school is a strong advocate of charitable giving, backed by one of its aims, 'To give each child an awareness of and an engagement with the outside world and the needs of others.'
Each year, pupils at the school put forward three chosen charities; local, national and international.
Charles says, "Although Action Medical Research is not currently one of the school's three chosen charities, Thomas chose to support them and has had to present to his class on why he supports the children's charity and what they do. It's great that he's getting involved and that he's putting the effort into cycling and fundraising."
Headmaster, Adrian Brown, says, "I'm delighted that Thomas has chosen to take on the challenge of cycling the Suffolk Sunrise and to raise funds for his chosen charity. It's testament to Thomas himself that he has done this off his own back, and also reflective of our school's ethos in fostering initiative and independence in our pupils."
Action Medical Research is a UK-wide children’s charity which funds desperately needed research to tackle the diseases that devastate the lives of so many of our children. It has been funding medical breakthroughs since it began in 1952 including helping to introduce the first polio vaccines in the UK, developing the use of ultrasound in pregnancy and testing the rubella vaccine.
The charity is currently funding research into conditions including asthma, prematurity, epilepsy, meningitis, cerebral palsy, brain cancer and some rare and distressing conditions.
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To download a picture of Charles and Thomas Liddy:
For more information on cycling events run by Action Medical Research: https://www.action.org.uk/events/cycling
To help Charles and Thomas's fundraising for the Suffolk Sunrise: https://www.action.org.uk/sponsor/charlesl1968
For more information on Orwell Park: http://orwellpark.co.uk/
NOTES TO EDITORS:
For 65 years Action Medical Research has been saving and changing children’s lives and has spent more than £115 million funding medical breakthroughs, including helping to introduce the first polio vaccines in the UK, discovering the importance of taking folic acid before and during pregnancy to prevent spina bifida, developing the use of ultrasound in pregnancy and testing the rubella vaccine.
The charity is currently funding research into conditions including prematurity, epilepsy, meningitis, cerebral palsy, brain cancer and some rare and distressing conditions.