Cycling feat defies heat

As temperatures soared into the mid-30s yesterday, most of us probably struggled even to summon the energy to walk to the fridge for a cold drink. But for one determined teenager, cycling 18 miles to school was a doddle - despite the fact that he suffers from a very rare breathing condition.

As temperatures soared into the mid-30s yesterday, most of us probably struggled even to summon the energy to walk to the fridge for a cold drink.

But for one determined teenager, cycling 18 miles to school was a doddle - despite the fact that he suffers from a very rare breathing condition.

Ryan Middleton, 16, cycled from his home at Toftwood, Dereham, in the soaring heat to the Clare School in Norwich to raise money to kit out his sixth-form common room.

He actually arrived ahead of schedule, completing his journey in just under two and a half hours to arrive at 9.30am.

The whole school lined the driveway to cheer in Ryan and his 19-year-old brother Thomas.

The heroes' welcome even extended to a well-deserved full English breakfast with all the trimmings.

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Ryan said: "It was brilliant. It was perfect weather too. Quite a lot of the way was downhill. That's why we were so quick.

"And breakfast was great. We had scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, everything. But afterwards we had to wash up."

Thanks to a vigorous training schedule, the journey was no sweat for Ryan who even managed to spend yesterday afternoon gardening for Norwich in Bloom.

He said: "I have been training every night for the past few weeks."

Ryan came up with the idea of cycling to school himself, bursting into the classroom one day to tell his teacher, Pat Bagshaw, his plans.

She said: "He just came in about three months ago and said he was going to do it to raise money for the sixth-form common room.

"I just said to him, 'Ryan, you live in Dereham, it's miles away'. But I should have known that wouldn't put him off.

"He wants to get a new CD player and a Playstation and some games for the common room."

Ryan managed to raise £750 and hopes this will rise as more of his sponsorship money pours in, perhaps even to £1,000.

The fruits of Ryan's labour would entertain him and his classmates at break and lunchtimes.

Mrs Bagshaw said: "The other sixth- formers are very proud of Ryan, and looking forward to a shopping trip!"

Ryan's mum Linda said: "They are going to have a sixth-form meeting to decide what to buy.

"Ryan's a very determined young man, and Thomas was only too happy to join in, seeing as he's back from university for the summer."