Norwich nine-year-old’s amazing Big C quadrathlon north Norfolk fundraiser to support her mum

Zara Kirkham sets off on her charity cycle ride from Holkham Hall to raise money for Big C. Pictured

Zara Kirkham sets off on her charity cycle ride from Holkham Hall to raise money for Big C. Pictured from left Paula, Zara, Jemima and Bill Kirkham.Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

As any parent will tell you, getting young children to show enthusiasm for long expeditions in the fresh air can be a challenge.

Not Zara Kirkham though.

The nine-year-old has just completed a remarkable DIY charity 'quadrathlon' along part of the north Norfolk coast.

The gruelling trek involved cycling, swimming, kayaking and walking along a route that she herself had devised and planned.

Zara, from Christchurch Road, Norwich, completed the challenge on Saturday, despite rain, buffeting winds and choppy seas.

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She decided on the challenge after her mother Paula, 46, was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago. The Avenue Junior School pupil spent about three months meticulously planning each stage and even hand-made her own sponsorship forms, to raise money for Norfolk charity the Big C.

Zara said she had wanted to support the charity to: 'thank them for helping mummy so much, and help them to help other people like mummy.'

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After a cycling send-off from Holkham Hall, at Wells-next-the-Sea, Zara and her father Bill pedalled to Wells beach from where they swam across to East Hills and back.

'By then it was extremely windy and raining slightly,' said Mr Kirkham, 44, a senior claims consultant with Norwich insurance firm Marsh, which has donated £300 to Zara's appeal. In total, she has already raised more than £1,100.

'The water was choppy and very chilly and her teeth were chattering but she was very single-minded and determined to carry on.'

Next, the pair embarked on a kayak journey from one end of Wells Quay to the other before walking the final four-mile section along the Norfolk Coast Path to Stiffkey.

'I didn't think I would be able to do the swimming because it was extremely cold but I thought about raising money and did it,' said an exhausted Zara soon after completing her feat.

Mr Kirkham said the family was immensely proud of Zara who has been invited to present the money to Big C chief executive Dr Chris Bushby at next week's Royal Norfolk Show.

Mrs Kirkham's diagnosis had turned the family upside down, Mr Kirkham added. But Big C was a continuing source of support.

To sponsor Zara visit www.justgivingdsfjlsdjlfjlkdfljljkdf

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