Move over Sir Bradley Wiggins: is this Britain's youngest cyclist?
“My name is George Williams, I am seven years old and last year I rode the Mini Ellipse on the back of my dad's bike on my tag-a-long. I have learned to ride by myself since on my very own Islabike known as 'The G' and this year on the 15th September I will be riding with my mum and dad but shall be pedalling myself.”
Make a note of his name. George Williams may be the face of future British cycling. He’s almost certainly MyDonate’s youngest fundraiser. This September the seven year old will be cycling the Mini Ellipse on his Islabike, a lightweight customised child’s bike, to raise money for charity.
Part of the annual Bruntwood charity cycle ride event, the Mini Ellipse is a 20 mile route meandering along Cheshire’s quiet country lanes.
Starting and finishing at Booths Hall in Knutsford, George will be pedalling with his parents Paula and Gary Williams through the rolling countryside to raise money for The Factory Youth Zone.
‘Somewhere to go, something to do, someone to talk to’
The Factory Youth Zone is a charity-run, state-of-the-art centre designed to provide a unique, safe place where young people ages 8-21 (or up to 25 for young people with a disability) can discover a world of possibilities.
Based in Manchester, the charity provides young people with the opportunity to participate in a wide range of activities including sports, dance, music, media and arts. Also on offer are Mentoring, Employability and Enterprise programmes aimed as providing additional one-to-one support to help young people overcome personal challenges and develop their full potential.
For Paula Williams, the opportunities on offer with The Factory Youth Zone are priceless. She believes in the importance of supporting local charities, and providing opportunities for children and young adults.
She said: “I can see that they encourage families to get involved as well and we do lots as a family - that is very important to us, so anything that gives young people a place to go, to meet, to hang out and to have a listening ear must be supported.”
Securing fundraising to keep the doors open to young people
The Factory Youth Zone aims to provide young people in Manchester with somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to, 52 weeks a year.
The initiative strives to keep its cost to young people and adults at a minimum, to ensure accessibility regardless of income.
However The Factory Youth Zone can’t continue to carry out this work without fundraising support to cover the running costs.
Phil Ascott, development manager at The Factory Youth Zone, believes MyDonate has provided a simple boost to their fundraising efforts.
He said: “As a registered charity, The Factory Youth Zone relies on the efforts of our fundraisers. The Factory Youth Zone uses MyDonate as it’s simple to use and allows our fundraisers to promote their activities and get sponsorship from friends, family and colleagues – without the need of filling out a sponsorship form and collecting cash.”
Reaping the rewards with a bacon sandwich
George is looking forward to the bike ride, and showing off his skills. However, the real treat will be at the end of the ride.
He said: “I can do 20 miles but have never done it in an organised event and am looking forward to it, especially the bacon sandwich at the end. Please help me to raise at least £50. I will be thrilled if you can donate no matter how small. Thank you and please pray for nice weather!”
You can view George’s MyDonate profile
For more information about The Factory Youth Zone and the work it does, please visit their website.