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Boy, 7, from Eaton, to cycle from London to Paris in memory of dad for Newark's Children's Bereavement Centre



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A seven-year-old boy is preparing to cycle 200 miles from London to Paris next month in memory of his dad.

Rupert Brooke ­— who is taking on the challenge for the Children’s Bereavement Centre ­— will be the youngest known cyclist to achieve the feat.

The youngster, from Eaton, has already raised more than £11,000 for the Newark-based charity ­— easily surpassing his original £8,000 target.

Rupert with his dad Tom.
Rupert with his dad Tom.

The cause is one close to Rupert’s heart because of the support it gave him after the sudden death of his dad three years ago.

In a statement released to encourage support for his monumental task, Rupert described his heartbreaking story: “On April 29, 2019, my daddy gave me a hug goodbye as he dropped me off at nursery. It was the last hug he would ever give me.”

Later that day Tom was killed in an accident at work.

Rupert in action at the Mallory Park road race league (57540270)
Rupert in action at the Mallory Park road race league (57540270)

Only four years old at the time, Rupert found it difficult to understand the loss of his dad ­— the man who first taught him to ride a bike.

At first Rupert and his mum had the support of family and friends but the pandemic, and resulting social distancing, meant help was limited.

But the Children’s Bereavement Centre in Newark were there to take up the slack.

“They supported my mummy and me through our saddest times. They helped me to understand the difficult feelings I was having,” Rupert said.

Rupert in his Leicester Forest Rockets kit.
Rupert in his Leicester Forest Rockets kit.
Rupert Brooke, training for his mega-ride.
Rupert Brooke, training for his mega-ride.

The centre also introduced Rupert to other children coping with loss so that they wouldn’t feel alone and would have others to socialise and have fun with.

Now he is training hard to take on the mega-ride, which is challenging even for the most experienced riders.

His mum Jess said: “Training is going really well. If we were leaving tomorrow, he’d be more than ready.”

“On Father’s Day Rupert breezed a 70-mile ride to Skegness and made it seem effortless. We’re super proud of him.

A seven-year-old boy is preparing to cycle 200 miles from London to Paris next month in memory of his dad.
A seven-year-old boy is preparing to cycle 200 miles from London to Paris next month in memory of his dad.

“He’s been a natural from the start, he got his first proper bike when he was three. Before that he managed to cycle over five miles on a balance bike.

“Because their time together was cut so short, Rupert wasn’t able to make a lot of memories with his dad but the ones I know he treasures most are of Tom teaching him to ride and every time he gets on that bike he’s reminded of him.”

The idea for the challenge first came to mind during the pandemic when Jess and Rupert started cycling on the roads for the first time. Rupert took to road cycling quickly and in September 2021 joined the Leicester Forest Rocket’s cycling club.

Rupert's route from London to Paris.
Rupert's route from London to Paris.

As a cycling fanatic, this isn’t the first time Rupert has put his young legs to good use as earlier this year he took part in the Dove Cottage Day Hospice Challenge 25 campaign by cycling to the top of 25 hills, raising £8,590.

For his mega-ride he will spend four days in the saddle, covering 200 miles on the road to Paris. The journey begins in London at 6.30pm on July 6.

To sponsor Rupert, click here.

On his JustGiving page Rupert’s determined, closing words read: “My legs are only little, but with your support I know we can make a huge difference to other bereaved children and I know I will make my Daddy very proud."



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