‘A beautiful angel’ - slimline Robert Dalzell is on a cycling mission to support charity set up in memory of Ellie Loades
- Credit: Robert Dalzell
He lost seven stone in weight to take up long distance cycling and turn his life around and now Robert Dalzell will take on another 100-mile cycle race this weekend in memory of his 'inspiration'.
The 43-year-old from Great Ryburgh is riding in the Chase The Rising Sun Sportive from Sheringham on Saturday to raise money for the charity set up in memory of Ellie Loades.
Ellie, who lived in Colkirk, died at the age of 16 in 2013 after a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis.
Her parents, Nick and Elaine, set up the charity Ellie's Love, to raise money for the hospitals and charities that have supported them.
Mr Dalzell said when he first met Ellie he weighed over 20 stone and had no real desire to do anything about it.
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'After her sad passing I felt ashamed that I was so selfish to waste my health and set myself a goal to lose the weight and raise money for the charity that was set up in her name,' he said.
'It is my plan to take on as many charity rides as I can to pay tribute to this beautiful angel that inspired me so much.'
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Mr Dalzell said Ellie and her parents became a close friends of the family and he would never forget the first time he met her.
'It was my son Alexander's first riding event at Thursford,' he said. 'He was unbelievably excited right up to the point when he suddenly realised loads of people would be watching.
'Alex, being only six years old at the time, burst into tears and it took me 10 minutes just to get him out of the car. Then a gentle voice called to Alex, 'come on, you have to register'.
'His grip on my hand released and he took Ellie's hand with a massive smile and off he went.
'My wife Ann told me all about Ellie and her illness, and I very quickly realised the sort of person she was. She was not only living life to the full and never letting her condition affect her enjoyment of horses, but she would not hesitate in stepping away from a competition in order to make sure her friend was happy and enjoying the moment.
'Ellie was a wonderful person who inspired me to change my life and my family and I miss her deeply. We will always have the picture of Alex and Ellie as they collected their ribbons and will always remember how wonderful she was.'
Donations can be made via the website www.ellieslove.co.uk.