Horncastle couple thank fundraisers who helped raise over £20,000

Ashley and Iris pictured at Leeds General Infirmary after the bike ride.
Ashley and Iris pictured at Leeds General Infirmary after the bike ride.

The proud parents of brave tot Iris Bell have thanked everyone who took part and supported a fund-rasing cycle ride.

As reported in the News last month, Iris underwent life-saving heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary last year.

Many of the cyclists are from Horncastle Town Football Club - and the Wongers Wheelers.

Many of the cyclists are from Horncastle Town Football Club - and the Wongers Wheelers.

Parents Ashley and Sophie Bell, who live in Horncastle, set about raising funds for the hospital.

Thanks to the success of a 108-mile cycle ride from Horncastle to Leeds, the couple have smashed through the £20,000 barrier - with more money to come.

They hope the cash will pay for future operations at the hospital.

Ashley told the News: “Never in our wildest dreams did we think we’d raise £20,000.

“It is mindblowing.

“In a few years’ time, hopefully we can look back and say the money paid for future heart surgery.

“It (the ride) will live long in the memory of everyone who took part - and everyone who supported it.

“We are so grateful to everyone.”

The couple plan further fundraisers, although not in the immediate future.

Many of the people who completed the ride alongside Ashley only took part after reading and hearing about Iris.

Many of them covered the 108 miles in seven hours - an impressive achievement.

There were 38 cyclists although many others made donations.

Iris was born with a congenital heart disease called severe mitral regurgitation.

It is a rare condition that causes blood to flow the wrong way inside the heart.

Because Iris’s valve wasn’t working properly, her little body struggled to process fluids and she would vomit every time she was fed.

With her life in the balance, Iris underwent open heart surgery at the age of just five months to replace the damaged valve with a mechanical one.

She will face further operations as she grows.

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Pictures: Rod Wetton Photography.