Kind-hearted bikers have hit the road for an epic ride to raise money for a Sunderland youngster with a rare medical condition.
Ten-year-old Matthew Brettell has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a condition which means it is likely he will need to use a wheelchair all the time by the time he turns 12.
Matthew’s loving parents Maria and Gavin, of Thorney Close, are now hoping to raise £75,000 so that the family home can be specially adapted for Matthew’s needs,
A Government grant will meet £30,000 of the total bill, but the Brettells are hoping to collect the £45,000 extra needed to cover the cost of an extension where their garage now stands, creating a bedroom and bathroom for Matthew on the ground floor.
The Matthew’s Milestones appeal set up earlier this year currently sits at over £13,000 and is in line for another boost this week.
Led by the landlord of The Mallard pub in Seaham, Gordon Littlewood, a team of bikers have set off on a tour of England to fund-raise for the youngster.
It’s just absolutely amazing what Gordon and the lads are doing. I can’t thank every single of them enough.Maria Brettell
The convoy, accompanied by a support van, is journeying to Land’s End on the southern coast before making it back to east Durham this Friday.
It’s expected that £10,000 will be added to the funding pot from the trek.
At a tearful send-off for the bikers, families waved off those taking part.
Maria, 36, who is also mum to Naomi, 18, and Daniel, eight, told the Echo: “It’s just absolutely amazing what Gordon and the lads are doing.
“I can’t thank every single one of them enough.
“Not many people would say they’d do this for a family in need. They’re diamonds.”
Along the way the bikers are stopping off at such locations as Carlisle, Morecambe, Barnstable and Ipswich before reaching Land’s End.
The venues the team are stopping at each night will also be helping out with fund-raising events.
Before setting off, an emotional Gordon said: “I know Gavin and when he told me everything about Matthew I knew we had to help.
“We’re not just doing it for him, but the whole family.
“This is the third thing I’ve done for them. For my birthday I said I wanted all of the money I got, £600, to go to the appeal, but this is the big one.”
The bikers are expected back at The Mallard this Friday afternoon.
To donate to the appeal go to www.justgiving.com/Maria-Brettell or contact Maria on 07899 738761.