Teens’ charity bike ride from Hastings to Exeter to raise money for Christian

Oliver Chapman, Aaron Noakes and Robin Brereton
Oliver Chapman, Aaron Noakes and Robin Brereton

A TEENAGER who was seriously hurt after he was knocked off his bike by a bus in Robertsbridge, is to join two friends cycling from Hastings to Exeter to raise funds for a disabled boy from St Leonards.

Oliver Chapman, 15, together with 16-year-old Robin Brereton and 18-year-old Aaron Noakes, who both live in Hastings, decided on the fundraiser after hearing about the plight of six-year-old Christian Fortunato, who has cerebral palsy.

The youngster’s family is battling to raise money towards a life-changing operation for him.

Christian, of Sunningdale Drive, was born 12 weeks early and diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy.

Due to his condition the youngster has to endure permanent leg spasms and constant painful leg cramps.

Christian is able to walk a bit with the aid of a walking frame but in order to do this he needs daily physiotherapy.

He has been offered an operation, called a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR), which will allow him to walk.

But his family need to raise £30,000 over the next year as the procedure is not available on the NHS.

Since his dad Max launched the appeal in November, generous members of the public have donated almost £11,000 after Christian’s plight was highlighted in the Observer.

Oliver, who has competed in cycling events, suffered a head injury and lost half the sight in his right eye following the accident in Robertsbridge at the end of October.

A week after the accident, the Robertsbridge Community College pupil complained of a headache, started slurring his words and struggled to balance.

He spent the next week and a half at the Conquest Hospital.

Doctors told Oliver, a member of the Hastings and St Leonards Cycling Club, that he would have been killed if he had not been wearing a cycle helmet.

Because of his injuries, he will not be able to pedal the whole route to Exeter with Robin and Aaron.

The trio will set off from Hastings Pier on the 225-mile trip on March 28, staying in Southampton in Hampshire for the night before completing the ride to Devon and returning with their families.

Oliver, of High Street, Robertsbridge said: “I will try to cycle some of the way but will be offering support to Robin and Aaron throughout the actual event. We hope to raise as much as we can for Christian.”

Anyone wishing to donate to the cause can log onto the Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/christianssdrfund.