Teen’s cycle marathon to support sick brother

This Is Wiltshire: James Wood, centre – with his cycle ride team of Ashley Hart, left, and Mike Slater James Wood, centre – with his cycle ride team of Ashley Hart, left, and Mike Slater

A schoolboy in Westbury will embark on a 50-mile cycle ride this month, to raise funds for the hospital where his brother is being treated for a heart condition.

James Wood, 15, will be joined by fellow Matravers student Ashley Hart, also 15, on the ride, along with Mike Slater, his brother’s teacher at Bitham Brook Primary School.

Tyler, 10, was admitted to Bristol Children’s Hospital eight weeks ago, due to a rare condition which has scarred his heart. Doctors are unsure of the precise cause.

James and his team are planning to cycle from Bitham Brook School to Wilton and back on October 31. They have already raised more than £1,000 in sponsorship for the hospital’s charity, Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal.

He said: “I wanted to do something for my brother and Ash suggested we do a bike ride. We chose the charity for the hospital where he is staying. I am really pleased and a bit surprised with the amount that has been raised so far. “We were only aiming for £500 and we have already doubled it. One anonymous person gave £100, which is impressive. People have been very generous.”

Tyler is being treated at the hospital until a heart donor is found by Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. He may need to be put on life support if his condition worsens.

The Grand Appeal provides medical equipment for the hospital, as well as toys, play areas and activities for the young patients, many of whom are long-term residents.

His father, Dave Woods, 39, said he hoped the town would get behind the appeal.

He said: “James feels this is an ideal way to feel part of Tyler’s recovery.

“Ashley was present on James’s first day back at school and saw how upset he was, so had the idea to do something to make a difference and feel like he is helping out his friend.

“It would be great if the town of Westbury and surrounding areas gets behind the boys and supports the Grand Appeal, which makes a massive difference to the children in the wards.”

Staff and pupils at Bitham Brook will be paying 50p to dress up as characters from Alice in Wonderland or any of the Roald Dahl children’s books on October 24, to support the appeal. Half the money raised will be going to the hospital and half to Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity.

To sponsor James’s team, visit http://uk.virginmoney giving.com/team/AshAnd JamesCharityRide

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