Pedal power to raise money for baby unit

Kieran Charles and Steven Boyd
Kieran Charles and Steven Boyd

A WORTHING dad is set to cycle the length of the country to raise £10,000 for a baby unit which saved his son’s life.

With best friend Kieran Charles by his side, Steven Boyd will take on the 1,012-mile trip from Land’s End to John O’Groats in support of the Trevor Mann baby unit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

The cause is particularly close to Steven’s heart after his son Jack was born 12-weeks prematurely at the unit just over two years ago.

Steven, 29, said: “Jack was really not well at all when he was born, but he would have never pulled through without the help of the wonderful staff at the unit. So to me, this unit is the best cause in the world, they really deserve the help.”

Jack, who is now two, has grown up to be a healthy toddler – but Steven described the six weeks his son was in hospital as “horrendous” for him and fiancée Natalie.

“At the time, you just get on with it,” he said. “But looking back, it was a really tough time. Around that time I also had to have an operation to have a brain tumour removed, as well as looking after the two other kids back at home and managing a business. But the staff there really were fantastic and we couldn’t have done it without them.”

Steven, who lives in Goring with Natalie, Jack and children Cameron, nine, and Annabelle, four, added: “We tried to be there to check on Jack as much as possible, but naturally you can’t be there 24/7. It’s difficult to leave your child with someone at the best of times, but the staff at the unit were brilliant.

“They made you feel really comfortable, and you just know your child is in safe hands. That’s something which is worth the world in times like that.”

Steven and 27-year-old Kieran, who lives in Tarring, are training three to four times a week in preparation to set off on May 21.

The pair are increasing their distances as time wears on, and will be soon tackling 75 miles at a time.

“We are hoping the trip will take 10 days,” said Steven. “But you never know what will happen. We actually were both knocked off our bikes by a car the other day, which was slightly embarrassing, but, fortunately, neither of us are hurt.”

He added: “We are both really excited about the trip, and the training is going well, I think we’ll be ready for May.”

The pair currently have raised £800 towards their target, and have had generous support from the Giant cycle store in Little High Street, Shoreham.

Steven said: “Giant has said they will help us with the kit we need, which is fantastic, but we are also looking for cash sponsors. We are so, so grateful for any donations at all. If businesses are willing to work with us, we would also help promote them on our website and during the trip. Every little bit of help will be greatly appreciated and will make a huge difference.”

For more information, see the website www.biking4babies.com

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/biking4babies or text baby99 £1 £2 or £5 to 70070.