Father urges cyclists and walkers to sign up to 2012 Ride for Life for EACH

A father, whose son receives care and support at a Norfolk children's hospice, is urging cyclists and walkers to sign up to this year's Ride for Life event.

Four-year-old Harry Bensley, who has complex health care and requires round the clock care as a result of an undiagnosed neurological condition, is one of dozens of children that receive care at the East Anglia's Children's Hospice (EACH) centre at Quidenham.

His father Martyn Bensley, of Bunwell, near Attleborough, has called on local people to get involved in the EDP sponsored Ride for Life, which raises thousands of pounds for the charity every year.

This year's event at Santon Downham in Thetford Forest will take place on Sunday, May 20 and includes a host of different length cycle rides and walks.

Mr Bensley, who took part in last year's Ride for Life with his wife Lorraine, daughters Lily, 9, Eve, 7, and nieces Sophie, 14, and Eleanor, 10, raised more than �1,700 for EACH and were the event's top fundraisers for 2011.

He now wants others to follow in their tracks for the big charity fundraiser that first began in 1994.

When Harry was born he was healthy, but shortly after his birth he showed signs of seizures. At about 12 months old, Harry could no longer sit securely and when he was about 18 months he lost the ability to crawl and eat. He also lost his muscle tone and was unable to sit up or move very much.

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His father said: 'Harry went from learning new skills all the time to losing the ability to do anything - it was terrible. It was a really tough time and it still is. When we were in hospital with Harry we were told about various support groups and organisations that could help us, including EACH.'

'Even though we'd known about the charity for a while, we didn't start using EACH services until a summer party at Quidenham hospice last year. It was great fun, and since then EACH has made a huge difference to all of our lives. '

Harry has received day care at home and at the hospice and will also have overnight stays at the hospice. His sisters, Lily and Eve, have also been to a sibling support group.

Mr Bensley, who works for Active Technologies Limited in Hethel, and is planning to take part in Ride for Life this year, added: 'EACH as a whole has given us invaluable support, which allows us to continue to be a family. The charity brings us together and gives Harry the chance to spend time at the hospice with other children in his situation.'

For more information, visit www.each.org.uk or call the Quidenham hospice 01953 715559.

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