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170-mile Leicester to Portsmouth bike ride for Southsea child with cerebral palsy

Navy engineer Rhys Bingham and a group of his childhood friends from Syston Rugby Club in Leicester are taking on a two-day, 170-mile cycle ride to raise funds for vital therapy for Rhys’s son Rudy.

Rudy Bingham, now aged four, was born at 42 weeks and was a smiley, chunky baby who met all his milestones. It was only when he started to walk that his parents Fiona, 36, and Rhys, 38, noticed that he was struggling, unable to walk without holding on to someone or to walk with flat feet.

Rudy has had selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) surgery on the NHS to help improve his movement and decrease his pain six weeks ago, and has already made huge progress.

Mum Fiona, a respiratory physiotherapist said: ‘It’s brilliant to see how much more Rudy can do now, he can walk upstairs and he swung on his own on a swing for the very first time. It’s amazing how much he’s come on in such a short time, but to keep his progress up, he needs physio four times a week as well as hydrotherapy. Much of this has to be paid for privately.’

The family has already raised more than £20,000 thanks to community support and sponsored events, including 2,500 burpees performed in 12 days by his dad, navel engineer Rhys, the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge and events held by Rhys’s colleagues on his ship, HMS Protector.

They are being supported by children’s charity Tree of Hope which helps families fundraise for children like Rudy with healthcare needs and provides charity status to benefit from gift aid, corporate support whilst also providing donor reassurance, and these funds are already being used to pay for therapies, which is currently costing around £1,000 per month. Rudy will continue to need therapy throughout his life, so fundraising is ongoing.

The cycle challenge takes place on September 16 and 17, starting at 7:30am at Syston Rugby Club in Leicester and finishing at Southsea Castle. The five friends will also be supported by Rhys’s dad Dennis.

Rhys said: ‘The support we have received from our friends and family has been above and beyond. Friends from all walks of our life have come forward with ideas and challenges to help fundraise for Rudy. They proposed the idea to cycle from Leicester down to Portsmouth. We are all from a rugby background with minimal cycling experience so we expect the challenge will be tough but equally exciting to enjoy the journey down. I was really touched when they decided get involved with our fundraising. Our journey is also very personal us. We will be starting from Syston Rugby Club, a club we all have very fond memories of. Our challenge will be finishing at Southsea Castle in Portsmouth where I now live and serve in the Royal Navy.’

Fiona added: ‘We have been bowled over by all the support we’ve had with our fundraising. Like any parents, all we want is the best for Rudy, and it really helps that we feel we have so many people behind us.’

Gill Gibb, Tree of Hope CEO said: ‘We’re delighted to be helping the Bingham family with their fundraising again. It’s always heartening when families have a band of supporters and we wish them all the best with this cycle challenge and their future events.’

To donate to Rudy’s fund, visit

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