Lyneham father’s goal to help his son walk
Father-of-two Stephen Baker will tackle a four-day cycle ride from London to Paris to raise money for his youngest son Ollie, who needs an operation to help him walk.
Three-year-old Ollie suffers from spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy which means the muscles in his legs are always tight, and he uses a walker to get around.
Since a fundraising campaign launched in August last year, family and friends have raised more than £23,000 for the operation, which is not available on the NHS.
Mr Baker, 43, of Victoria Drive, Lyneham, works for Haines Construction in Calne and will cycle with Paul Rumming, a self-employed kitchen fitter, and Gary Harris who works for Wilkins Builders. His boss Kevan Haines planned to ride with them, but has faced health problems recently and will cycle the last few miles into Paris with them instead.
The route, roughly 214 miles, will take the trio from London to Dover, Calais to Arras, Arras to Compiegne, and Compiegne to Paris finishing at the Eiffel Tower.
Mr Baker, whose wife Carol also did a fundraising parachute jump last year, said he hoped the trip would raise around £4,500 for Ollie.
He said: “Ollie knows I’m riding to Paris and he will be with us when I leave. I want him to live a normal life and play with his friends.
“If we can help him to walk I would be overwhelmed because I would know I’ve done something to transform his life and it wouldn’t just be me, it’s all the friends who have helped him.”
Chippenham Town Football Club raised £400 towards Ollie’s operation at a home game on Saturday when they beat Banbury United 2-0. Ollie and brother Josh were mascots on the day and the money was raised through a bucket collection.
Community development officer Barry Stephens said: “Ollie and Josh had a great time because we put them in little mascot kits and our captain Alan Griffin was able to carry Ollie out because he’s a friend of the family.”
To sponsor Mr Baker, visit www.justgiving.com/stepbystep13.