Daughter takes father’s place in cycle challenge after he was diagnosed with leukaemia

Ella Herbert with her 12-year-old friend George Ward.
Ella Herbert with her 12-year-old friend George Ward.

A 14-year-old girl from the Harborough district has raised more than £13,000 for cancer charities, after taking her father’s place in a marathon cycle ride when he was diagnosed with leukaemia.

David Herbert (47) from East Langton had been expecting to take part in the Century Cycle Ride for charity at the weekend.

But after registering for the event several months ago, Mr Herbert, a barrister, was himself diagnosed with leukaemia.

So his 14-year-old daughter Ella Herbert, a pupil at Leicester Grammar School, stepped up to the mark with her 12-year-old friend George Ward.

She set off at 6.10am and completed the cycle ride in around nine hours. Her and George’s website has so far raised £13,747 for charity.

The ride is more than 100 miles long, from Nevill Holt, near Market Harborough, to Brancaster on the north Norfolk coast.

Ella said: “My dad, David Herbert was diagnosed with leukaemia. He needs a bone marrow transplant to survive.

“My friend George Ward and I want to raise money for (blood cancer charity) Anthony Nolan and Delete Blood Cancer. Please sponsor us to help Anthony Nolan and Delete Blood Cancer find a donor to help people like my dad.”

Una Farrell of Delete Blood Cancer told the Mail: “We think it’s absolutely wonderful what Ella’s done. She’s inspired so many people and raised the profile of our charity.”

And Nancy Gray, senior community fundraising manager at Anthony Nolan, said: “The amazing fundraising that Ella and George are doing makes such a big difference to people with blood cancer. It costs £100 to recruit each person to the Anthony Nolan register, so fundraising is a vital part of our lifesaving work.”

This week Mr Herbert was back at Leicester Royal Infirmary as a precaution, after picking up an infection. He has completed the cycle ride three times himself in previous years. He told the Mail: “Ella is very fit and has done some cycling, but this was a lot further than she’s done before. She is very determined and I never had any doubt that she would do it.

“For me as her father to see what she has written and what she is doing to fund raise for these charities is wonderful. I am very proud.”

Ella’s mum Rebecca Herbert (44), also a barrister, said: “The response to the appeal has been fantastic, we never expected such a reaction.”

To give money to charity through Ella’s charity page, go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/conker