Steve Earl

Earl children, 12 and 9, go for London-Paris cycling record

Fundraising for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity
raised of £2,500 target
by 78 supporters
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We help the hospital offer a better future to seriously ill children across the UK


Ever cycled from London to Paris? It's tough. Every year, groups of adults brave the challenge, typically riding around 280 miles over four days.

Now a 9-year-old and a 12-year-old are going to attempt it. 

From 27th to 30th May this year, two of my children are aiming to do just this. If they achieve it, they will become the youngest-known girl and boy to have cycled from London to Paris the full way, via Dover. Of course some people may question whether kids this  young should be riding this far, but both want to give it a go, for special reasons.

Saskia and Alfie Earl, 12 and 9 respectively, have form. Two years ago, they completed the gruelling Tour of Flanders one-day cycling sportive in Belgium, parts of which are over cobbled roads and hills.

Now they’re aiming to go much further, literally. And for two exceptional causes – Cancer Research, in memory of their grandmother who passed away last November, and Great Ormond Street Hospital, which saved the life of their younger brother Ivan when he was just 18 months old. The daredevil pair want to raise at least £2,500 for each, and make a little bit of history too if they can.

There are so many fundraising appeals these days, and many involve cycling. This one is different – because of their age, as no charity ride was prepared (and fair enough) to allow them on an organised mass-ride, as their minimum age is 15. So we’re doing this ourselves, with our own support car, with input from the cycling community and supporters. Like their grandmother, who always inspired her children, grandchildren and wider family to achieve their dreams, they are aiming to show the world that anything is possible. Her last words to me, after she’d kissed me goodbye, were to “be strong, always”. Those words will be ringing in all of our heads, and hearts, through each of the 300 miles/480 kilometres that we’ll tackle during three-and-a-half days. Their pledge to ride to Paris was one of the last things they shared with her, and that made her smile proudly.

Alfie is now sponsored by the generous and hugely supportive Hargroves Cycles, one of Britain 's best cycle shops and teams, which also plans to provide jerseys for the rest of the family to support what will be an epic ride. Thank you Hargroves, we aim to make you all proud too.

Saskia, stubborn and determined, is daunted by the prospect, but convinced she can do this. Alfie is too – and comes with some pedigree already, as London to Paris will be the final of four incredible cycling challenges he set himself a year ago. He has already inspired many around the world, and gained plaudits, by conquering the infamous mountain passes of the Col Du Tourmalet, Mont Ventoux and Passo dello Stelvio, becoming one of the youngest people ever to achieve those feats.

Still, 80 miles a day in the saddle is beyond the reach of most adults, let alone children of 9 and 12.

They, and we, are hoping friends, family, colleagues, cyclists and the wider community can get behind this, to help save many more lives and to recognise those who have inspired the guts and the glory in three remarkable children (yes, Ivan will be joining them for part of the way too).

This page has a link for donations to Great Ormond Street Hospital, while this carbon copy page has a link for donation to Cancer Research.

Thank you in advance for any support you can give. 

Be strong, always.

About the charity

We fundraise to enhance Great Ormond Street Hospital’s ability to transform the health and wellbeing of children and young people. Donations help to fund advanced medical equipment, child and family support services, pioneering research and rebuilding and refurbishment.

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