A BLYTH youngster got into the saddle at the weekend to take part in a charity bike ride held annually in his honour.
Julie and Shaun Butler, of Blyth, launched Bailey’s Bike Ride four years ago after their son of that name was born two months prematurely, weighing just 4lb 4oz.
The couple were so grateful for the care Bailey received in the special care baby unit at Ashington’s Wansbeck General Hospital that they decided to hold the bike ride to raise money for the unit as their way of thanking staff.
And the four-year-old completed the 12-mile ride from Blyth Town Football Club’s pavilion to St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay and back at the weekend for the first time.
His mum Julie said: “Bailey really wanted to take part on his own for the first time because he has been learning to ride his bike without his stabilisers, and he did it.
“It went fantastically well despite the weather, and everyone enjoyed themselves.
“We had around 202 cyclists and have an estimated sponsorship total of £5,500, which is amazing.
“Every little helps, so a huge thank you to everyone who took part in the ride.
“We didn’t realise how much support we have actually got.
“Everyone wants to raise money for a good cause, and we are really impressed.”
Julie, winner of our Pride of Northumberland Award for fundraising last year, has already amassed £27,000 through holding the annual bike ride.
This year, she is focusing on collecting money to pay for a new continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to help premature babies breathe after they are first born.
Money raised so far by the couple has paid for the opening of a bereavement room at the Woodhorn Lane hospital.
To donate to the cause, visit www.justgiving.com/baileys bikeridecyclists2011