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Father and son team hit the heights for north Kent charity

PUBLISHED: 08:00 31 May 2013

Five-year-old Ollie Chamberlain and his dad Danny

Five-year-old Ollie Chamberlain and his dad Danny

Archant

Undertaking a 650-mile charity expedition from Holme Fen in Cambridgeshire to Ben Nevis in Scotland would be quite a challenge for even the most intrepid traveller.

EllenorLions fact box

The hospice was founded as the Ellenor Foundation in 1985 by Graham Perolls following the death of his parents, Ellen and Norman.

Every week the hospice cares for 300 adults and 100 children in their homes.

Every year 250 people receive in-hospice care.

They mainly cover Dartford, Gravesend and Swanley and the surrounding villages but spread out into Bexley, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells.

For five-year-old Ollie Chamberlain to be cycling on a tandem with his dad, Danny, is even more exceptional, especially as he came up with the idea himself.

They started the trip on Thursday for the north Kent EllenorLions and chYps hospice, which provide care for adults and children with life-limiting diseases in Gravesend, Swanley and Bexley among other places

Danny, 45, says: “Raising money is a bonus on this trip because it will be so enjoyable.

“This challenge is all about Ollie. It is his first big expedition and was his idea – we’re very proud that he cares so much about helping other people.”

The family have been long-time supporters of the hospice because Ollie’s nan, has worked at their Swanley charity shop for 20 years and family members and friends have died from cancer.

The family, who live in Knatts Valley Road in Sevenoaks, are funding the trip themselves so every penny raised will go towards the hospice.

They expect the expedition to take 10 to 12 days so, with the half-term holiday, Ollie should only miss a couple of days at West Kingsdown C of E School, Sevenoaks, at most.

Danny, who fits fences for a living, thinks the challenge will be as educational as going to school: “He’ll see golden eagles, wild deer and otters. It will be a real eye-opener for him. To do that at five years old will be a real experience for him.

“The charity does great work locally so we’re killing two birds with one stone.

“I lost my granddad to cancer and Sasha lost her nan. We’ve also raised about £30,000 over the past 10 to 12 years for the cancer unit at King’s College Hospital – two of our friends, John Weatherall and John Hemphill, both died from liver cancer.

“We know first-hand how devastating the disease can be.”

Fundraising manager for the hospice Rachel Holweger says it is “one of the most exceptional challenges we have ever seen to raise money for us”.

EllenorLions has to raise £6million every year to keep going as all the care and support it provides to patients and families is free.

She added: “What they’re doing is amazing. Travelling 650 miles across the country would be hard enough for anyone to do, but for a five-year-old to be involved is truly special.

“It just goes to show that anyone can fundraise, no matter how young. There are many different ways to raise money, we hope this will inspire others to get involved.

“Hopefully Ollie and Danny have a lovely time together.”

n For more information and to sponsor the pair visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/olliedanchamberlain. To keep updated with their progress visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/OllieOnionsEllenorslionsChallenge?fref=ts.

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