On our bikes for a good cause

Friends Lauren Atkinson and Kelsey Lester, who have done a sponsored bike ride for Brian House
Friends Lauren Atkinson and Kelsey Lester, who have done a sponsored bike ride for Brian House
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These two girls were in the swim last year, and now they have been getting on their bikes to help other youngsters.

Friends Kelsey Lester and Lauren Atkinson recently raised £805 through a sponsored bike ride, for Bispham-based children’s hospice Brian House.

And that was on top of £500 they handed to the charity in 2013, after a sponsored swim at Palatine Pool.

Kelsey, 12, who goes to Lytham St Annes Technology and Performing Arts College and Lauren, 13, who attends St George’s School, have been friends since they attended St Nicholas Primary School together, and are both members of Whittaker’s Dance and Drama Centre, in Blackpool.

They were inspired to start raising money for Brian House in memory of Kelsey’s cousin, Eden Hubbard, from Leicester, who died from a brain tumour aged just 10.

And after Kelsey visited Brian House to do a performance with Whittaker’s, she decided she wanted to do something.

Kelsey’s proud mum Julie, of Peel, Blackpool, said: “Eden was a very bubbly little girl, a talented dancer. Obviously, with Kelsey not much younger than Eden, this brought much sadness to the family.

“In 2011, Kelsey attended Brian House, to do a performance and was later offered a tour of the centre.

“The centre was amazing, and Kelsey was saddened although they receive grants from various sources, they also heavily rely on donations. With this in mind, and thinking of the loss of Eden, she decided to do a sponsored swim. She thought that even if she could only raise £50, it was better than nothing.”

Kelsey invited her friend Lauren to join her, and the girls and their families were delighted by how much they raised.

For this year, wanting to beat their previous total, the pair cycled the lights from Starr Gate in South Shore, to Red Bank Road, Bispham and back.

Kelsey said: “I will be completing a sponsored event each year, as it is so important to keep Brian House open. They do amazing work.

“When we presented the cheque to the staff, I could see the children appreciated it too.

“Brian House really does make people happy. When we first started the cycle, my legs ached so much, but me and Lauren thought about all those children and it spurred us on even further – because we cycled back to our house as well – 14.9 miles in total.

“Our schools and family have supported us with the sponsorships and helping out. The money is going to a brilliant charity and I am very proud.”