Schoolgirl raises almost £2,500 in memory of baby James Thorndyke

Ella-May Saunders has raised almost £2,500 for EACH in memory of James Thorndyke

Ella-May Saunders has raised almost £2,500 for Each in memory of James Thorndyke - Credit: Supplied by family

“Tough but worth it” was the message from an inspirational nine-year-old who has completed a charity challenge in memory of a baby who died just days before his first birthday. 

James Thorndyke was first diagnosed with an early childhood genetic disease at eight weeks old.  

A rare condition, Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) leaves babies with a defective immune system. 

James Thorndyke being cuddled by his mum, Susie.

James Thorndyke being cuddled by his mum, Susie. - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

And during this fraught time, he was cared for at East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (Each) former Quidenham hospice. 

His story is one that touched many, including Ella-May Saunders, of Jermyn Way, Tharston, who wanted to do her bit to help. 

The south Norfolk schoolgirl decided to embark on a challenge of her own after being inspired by her mum, Louise Saunders, who is friends with James’s mum, Susie. 

The Saunders family

The Saunders family ahead of Ella-May's bike ride challenge - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

Mrs Saunders is herself a successful fundraiser for Each after raising more than £2,000 by completing a charity run

James’s parents have also donated just over £40,000 to the charity raised by hosting two balls

Ella-May has added to that phenomenal amount by raising almost £2,500. 

Ella-May Saunders has raised almost £2,500 for EACH in memory of James Thorndyke

Ella-May Saunders has raised almost £2,500 for Each in memory of James Thorndyke - Credit: Supplied by family

Setting off on her charity bike ride in rural Norfolk, she cycled for three hours with just one quick pit stop and raised a total of £2,473. 

She said: “It was tough but worth it in the end.” 

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Mrs Saunders added: “We’re so proud of Ella-May. 

“She didn't moan once, stuck to her task, and completed the challenge with no problems at all. 

“We only stopped once, for a quick bite to eat and drink in Bunwell. 

“Other than that, she completed the route in one go, in three hours.” 

Ella-May Saunders is raising money for EACH

Ella-May Saunders is raising money for EACH - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

The route saw her cycle through Forncett, Spooner Row, Bunwell, Carleton Rode, Tibenham, Aslacton, Great Moulton, and Wacton before heading back to Tharston. 

And her fundraiser was made even more impressive by the fact she has weekly physio sessions because of problems with her legs and knees. 

The Aslacton Primary School pupil, who celebrates her 10th birthday later this month and has a five-year-old sister, Florence, was joined on the bike ride by both her mum and dad, Jonny. 

Her fundraising page is still open. To sponsor Ella-May visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ella-maysaunders.