Boy and his grandmother embark on remarkable 165 mile cycle ride from Liverpool to Milton Keynes
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The love between a boy and his gran has set the wheels in motion for a remarkable and impromptu fundraising effort to help other children.
Dylan Ungi, 12, has doted on his grandmother, 64-year-old Kim Lowden, since he was a tiny tot.
Last week the family went to stay with Kim for the weekend and, as usual, Dylan was reluctant to say goodbye.
"I suggested he stay there with his gran for a few days and I’d drive to pick him up at the end of the week. He was very happy with that idea!,” said Kim.
But what happened next took her breath away.
Kim called and said not to worry about picking Dylan up as they would CYCLE back to Milton Keynes together – a journey of 165 miles!
"At first I said ‘absolutely not’,” said Ria. “But then I talked to Dylan and he really wanted to do it. My mum is quite active and has done a few long distance cycles. She told me she’d planned the route, doing 30 miles each day, and she would book places for them to stay each night.”
The pair set out on their epic gran and grandson adventure on Monday and plan to arrive at Ria’s Two Mile Ash home on Saturday.
“They are loving every minute of it and sending regular photos and updates. They have a target each day and stop off for overnight stays and meals, where Dylan is eating like a horse apparently!” said Ria.
She hit upon the idea of turning the adventure into a sponsored ride and raising money for charity. Dylan, who goes to Watling Academy, chose the NSPCC as he wanted to help other children.
"I set up a JustGiving page with a target of £500. I can’t believe how supportive people have been in donating. They’ve reached the target already and they’re now hoping to raise even more,” said Ria.
"They stopped off at a cafe for lunch one day and the woman there were so touched with their story that they all donated £5.
"I think people love the idea of a grandson and his gran doing this together. They have such a special bond and it’s lovely to see.
"Dylan loves being with her and they’ll sit and happily watch Antiques Roadshow together and do all sort of things that he’d never do at home.”
Today (Wednesday) the pair are in Market Drayton and aim to reach Wolverhampton by tonight.
Ria is planning a special celebration, complete with banners and balloons, to welcome them in Milton Keynes on Saturday.
"I’m really proud of Dylan and I’m so proud of my mum. There’s not many 64-year-olds that would do such a long cycle ride – I know I couldn’t and I’m much younger!” she said.
The fundraising page gives regular updates and photos showing the pair’s progress. You can view it and donate here.