Cyclists take on 200-mile trek to remember schoolgirl

Team Kelly reach Roker in Sunderland as they complete their cycle challenge to take on the Coast and Castles route
Team Kelly reach Roker in Sunderland as they complete their cycle challenge to take on the Coast and Castles route
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Cyclists journeyed more than 200 miles past some of the North East’s most majestic landmarks to raise money in memory of a schoolgirl who was tragically killed by meningitis.

Eleven riders took on a coast and castles route from Edinburgh to Sunderland in honour of Kelly Rowan, who died 20 years ago last month.

Team Kelly at Bamburgh Castle as part of their cycle challenge to take on the Coast and Castles route

Team Kelly at Bamburgh Castle as part of their cycle challenge to take on the Coast and Castles route

The Farringdon School pupil was ill with what her family thought was flu before she was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital.

It then became apparent that she had contracted the deadly meningococcal septicaemia strain of the illness and she died the next day on June 27, 1995. To mark two decades since her death, Kelly’s brother David Morton, 31, and friend Martin Graham put together “Team Kelly” to take on the ride and raise funds for Meningitis Now.

As part of the ride, David and his fellow cyclists took in Melrose in Scotland before journeying through Bamburgh, Craster and Whitley Bay before arriving back in Roker.

“The route is about 212 miles altogether and after starting last Friday we managed to get back by Sunday night,” said David, who is married to Joanna and mum to Bethany-Jo, 12, Lyla-Mae, six, and Ollie, 11 months.

Hopefully we can get a bit more money in and get to at least £1,500.

David Morton, brother of Kelly Morton

“The first day was blistering hot, but the second day it lashed it down with rain before we had even started. It rained quite a bit on Sunday too so we were all a bit wet by the time we got back to Sunderland. We’ve all had a great time for a really good cause.”

David and his friends had hoped to raise £1,500 but are still a bit short of that on £1,330.

“Hopefully we can get a bit more money in and get to at least £1,500,” added David, of Silksworth. The symptoms of meningitis are a lot more well-known now but we still need to raise money to fight it.”

n To donate towards the appeal, text KELY59 and then the amount you are willing to sponsor to 70070 or go to www.justgiving.com/DavidMorton29.

Team Kelly at Bamburgh Castle as part of their cycle challenge to take on the Coast and Castles route

Team Kelly at Bamburgh Castle as part of their cycle challenge to take on the Coast and Castles route

Kelly Rowan who died from meningitis aged 15 in 1995

Kelly Rowan who died from meningitis aged 15 in 1995