Five-year-old Penny Gladman, from Boston Spa, Leeds, is no ordinary little girl. Having learnt to ride a bike only a few weeks ago she decided to use her new-found pedal power to support others, pledging to cycle 100 miles with the aim of raising a pound per mile for charity.
Throughout May, Penny worked hard to clock up the miles, completing the challenge for Leeds Cares which supports patients at Leeds Children’s Hospital. To date Penny has raised a staggering £1,500 for the charity – 15x her original target.
Leeds Cares is the charity of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trusts, supporting eight areas which include Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds Children’s Hospital, Leeds Cancer Centre, St James’s University Hospital, Chapel Allerton Hospital, Seacroft Hospital, Wharfedale Hospital and Leeds Dental Institute.
The charity works to support NHS staff to deliver the best possible care for over a million patients and their families each year, providing £5 million funding for Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trusts, thanks to fundraising from corporates, businesses and individuals such as Penny.
While Penny never gave up the battle, it took two bikes to get the determined girl through the challenge, with her first bike packing up 50 miles in, requiring an upgrade to a brand-new Tinkerbell model to finish the feat.
Now no longer the novice rider she was at the beginning of the fundraiser, Penny has turned quite the cycling pro for her age, already adept at riding cross-legged, side saddle and one-handed riding!
Esther Wakeman, CEO of Leeds Cares, comments: “Penny is an incredible young girl. Her passion and dedication to cycle 100 miles for our charity is an inspriation to us all. She should be extremely proud of the money she has raised which will go towards caring for the young people in her region that need it the most.
“Through our work and much needed fundraising we are able to offer life saving equipment, research fellowships, state of the art technology and improvements to the patient environment.
“On behalf of everyone at Leeds Cares, a huge thank you Penny for the amount you have raised and support you have given.”
Penny’s dad Gareth added: “We are so proud of Penny. When she first heard about the corona virus she wanted to sell her toys to raise funds to help people who were sick. But having recently learnt to ride a bike she quickly turned her focus to cycling. She has cycled more miles than we thought she ever would, and I think we’ve found a hobby for life during lockdown!
“The experience has been amazing; Penny can’t quite get her head around how much money has been donated because of what she is doing. We were genuinely hoping to raise £100, so thank you from Penny, me and (Penny’s mum) Kimberley for everyone’s amazing support.
“Leeds Children’s Hospital do an awesome job, so please keep sharing the Group, tell your friends, tell your family, let’s see just how much one little girl and her bike can raise for such a worthy cause!”
If you want to donate to Penny’s challenge please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/pennys100milechallenge