School girl heads from coast to coast – for the third time

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SCHOOLGIRL Lucy Barker packs a lot of pedal power.

The 12-year-old, from East Boldon, is gearing up for a coast-to-coast cycle ride for the third time.

Lucy, a pupil at Whitburn Church of England Academy, did her first ride of more than 130 miles, from Whitehaven in Cumbria to Roker in Sunderland, when she was just 10.

On that occasion, she raised £370 towards a new Scout Hut in East Boldon.

When she saddled up again for the ride last year, she chose to raise money for the maternity unit at South Tyneside District Hospital in memory of her sister, Isla, who was stillborn in 2009, and Lucy was able to hand over £500.

She is raising funds for the hospital again with her latest ride.

Lucy lives with her mum, Sarah, 40, dad, Paul, 38, and brother, Jack, nine.

Mrs Barker said: “Lucy is very active and loves to be on her bike. The coast-to-coast ride is really tough and some adult riders train for it for months.

“Lucy is quite petite but she is very strong-willed and determined.

“Even though some riders have to get off and push their bikes at certain points, she doesn’t flinch going up the mountains, although sometimes she cries when she gets to the top because she has worked so hard to get there.”

In appreciation of her efforts for the hospital, she was invited to visit the unit.

Mrs Barker said: “Lucy loves babies, so she was thrilled to have the opportunity to look around.

“We are very proud of her and we think it’s fantastic that she wanted to do the ride for her sister.”

Lucy added: “The big climbs are quite difficult but I wanted to raise money to help the unit where my little sister was born.”