Brave four-year-old cancer survivor Ava is the inspiration for charity Norfolk coastal ride

The cyclists preparing for the ride in honour of Ava Wattam. Pictured in the foreground are Ava (left), her sister Martha (right) and dad Robert. The cyclists preparing for the ride in honour of Ava Wattam. Pictured in the foreground are Ava (left), her sister Martha (right) and dad Robert.

Andrew Papworth andrew.papworth@archant.co.uk
Thursday, May 15, 2014
8:02 AM

Cycling 240 miles around Norfolk’s coast is tough - but a 10-strong team from the area surrounding Diss and Harleston who start the gruelling three-day ride tomorrow in honour of four-year-old cancer survivor Ava Wattam know any pain they may suffer will be nothing in comparison to what that little girl went through.

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Uncle Douglas Trudgill decided he wanted to do something to help when Ava was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour in one of her kidneys in August last year.

Having to undergo chemotherapy treatment meant she missed her first day of school, which mum Claire Wattam described as “heartbreaking”.

Ava, from Bressingham, then had life-saving surgery to remove her kidney at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, with her parents staying in a purpose-built ‘home from home’ facility run by The Sick Children’s Trust so they could be by her side during the treatment.

Despite going through something many adults would find hard, Mrs Wattam said: “Ava was a superstar. It was devastating for the whole family and it is every parent’s nightmare but she has just soldiered through it.

“We are extremely proud of her.”

Ava’s brave fight is now the inspiration for the Great Norfolk Ride Off, where a team of Ava’s relatives - including her dad Robert Wattam - and family friends will cycle from Diss to Hunstanton, before riding around the coast to Southwold and returning to Diss on Sunday.

Nick Culley, 48, of Botesdale, one of those taking part, said: “It’s been tough training for most us and we’ve quite often ended with sore backsides.

“However it is nothing compared to what little Ava went through.

“Thinking about her plight means we will just get on with it.”

The team hope to raise £10,000 for The Sick Children’s Trust and have raised about £6,100 so far. Cornerstone in Harleston has been the main team sponsor.

“This is all about giving something back to a worthy cause which helped Ava’s family,” said Mr Culley.

Well-wishers will cheer them on their way when they set off from the Diss Mere Mouth at 7.30am tomorrow.

To sponsor, visit www.justgiving.com/teams/thegreatnorfolkrideoff

Are you doing something for charity? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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