Inspired by a cousin with anorexia, 11-year-old Kelsall schoolgirl Erin Spray took on the Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle challenge to raise money for the Young Minds Charity.
Her initial target was £2,000, but she has smashed her target, raising just over £6,000 so far - an achievement which has earned her a Young Achiever of the Year title in the Volunteer of the Year Awards.
Erin and her dad Chris, a Cycling UK member, spent weeks planning the travel and logistics as well as completing long training rides to prepare for the challenge. Following a route of 1,200 miles to make use of the low-traffic trail, it took about three weeks to complete.
Erin is one of the youngest cyclists ever to complete the challenge.
She said: “It’s amazing to win an award for my cycling. I loved the ride and seeing the amazing scenery in the UK. It was also brilliant to meet so many other cyclists who helped us along the way.”
Chris Spray, Erin’s dad, said: “I’m overwhelmed by Erin’s tenacity and determination. She just kept going, and often made me get on my bike in the mornings. I’ll never forget standing under that John O’Groats sign with a massive sense of pride in what she’d achieved.”
The Volunteers of the Year Awards provide Cycling UK with an opportunity to celebrate a variety of individuals, groups and clubs from across the UK that devote hours to supporting people to experience cycling.
The Young Achiever of the Year award seeks to celebrate young people who, through cycling, have worked hard and have achieved personal development or specific goals.
Cycling UK’s chief executive Paul Tuohy said: “Erin is an inspiring example of a young cyclist’s dedication and determination. Not only has she surpassed her target for fundraising, but has pushed herself to achieve something only a few cyclists her age have accomplished. Cycling UK is proud to acknowledge her perseverance and success.”