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Seven-year-old cycling 999 miles in virtual UK tour for NHS

Schoolgirl Anya Rodgers has taken a virtual journey to spots including Windsor and Torquay to raise money for the NHS.

A seven-year-old has raised more than £1,000 for the NHS through a virtual cycling tour to visit friends and family across the UK.

The schoolgirl will be finishing her challenge in two weeks, which will have seen her cycle 999 miles in total, virtually meeting people at several stops along the way.

“At the start of lockdown, Anya decided that she would turn our daily exercise opportunity into a way of virtually visiting her friends and family by bicycle,” Julie Rodgers, Anya’s mother, told the PA news agency.

“Each day, we would note how far she had cycled and plot our journey virtually around the country.”

Anya has been completing the challenge with her family in Burbage, Wiltshire, with her three-year-old sister riding on the back of her mother’s bike.

Mrs Rodgers told PA: “We initially mapped out a 400-mile journey taking in grandparents in Stourbridge and Windsor, friends in Wokingham, Newbury and Calne, Glastonbury Festival and finally landing virtually in Torquay to see her aunt and uncle.

“When we got to each of our stops, we had a virtual cuppa over video call with them.

“On May 25, we reached our destination in Torquay and realised that with normality still far away, we had time to continue our journey. We decided to visit people who had donated to her page and plotted stage two, going all the way up to Scotland.”

Anya has fitted her challenge in while at first being schooled at home, and more recently going back to school in the mornings.

The challenge, which began on March 23 and will continue until July 25, has seen her crash her bike twice and raise more than £1,000 for NHS Charities Together.

“She’s been an absolute star,” Mrs Rodgers said.

“Since lockdown four months ago, she’s been cycling every single day apart from three. She’s loved it as a challenge. Come rain or shine, she has been cycling.”

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/anya-rodgers

PA Media