Eight-year-old Harry Comber from Trowbridge has learned to ride a bike in order to take on a fundraising challenge.

Harry, who attends St George’s Primary School in Semington, wanted to do something to say thank you to the staff at Bristol Heart Institute (BHI) for taking care of his grandpa after he was treated for a heart attack. So he decided to take on a sponsored cycle to raise money for Above & Beyond, the official charity for Bristol city centre hospitals. However, to achieve this feat he had to learn to ride a bike first.

After much frustration, Harry took his first proper ride on Christmas Day last year and now plans to cycle as much of the 17.5 mile Camel Trail as he can – joined by his brother, Charlie, mum Alex, and dad James.

Harry preparing for his big ride

Harry explained, “I wanted to say thank you to the cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) because they saved my grandpa’s life with their amazing magic. I feel very excited about my cycle challenge!”

Harry’s grandpa, Richard McIlvenna, was taken to hospital last year after having a number of silent heart attacks. After three weeks he was transferred to the BHI for what was expected to be a routine triple heart bypass; however, after severe complications and a quintuple heart bypass, the family were told Richard would not survive the hour.

Eight weeks later he had beaten all the odds thanks to the incredible intensive care staff

Harry’s dad, Alex, said, “My dad was previously very fit, healthy and active so his illness came as quite a shock.

“I am so proud of Harry for taking it upon himself to organise this cycle challenge to raise money for the cardiac intensive care unit (CICU).

“I was amazed by his resilience as he sat in the waiting room in ICU. He always had complete faith that the doctors and nurses would save his grandpa and said if he believed and wished hard enough, he knew they would make him better.

“Right from the beginning he knew he wanted to raise money to help other families going through similar situations in the future. He wanted to choose something that he found hard (cycling) to show empathy for the challenges faced by staff in ICU.

“It has been wonderful to see Harry create so much enthusiasm for something positive that came out of a situation that was so hard for him at the time.”

Lydia McGivern, community fundraising officer for Above & Beyond, added, “Harry is such a determined fundraiser, which shows in the incredible amount of money he’s raised already. Fundraising is a great way to say thank you to hospital staff and the team at CICU will be incredibly grateful for Harry’s efforts.”

Harry is taking on the challenge on 9 April. To donate go to:

For more information on Above & Beyond, visit the website: