News, events and schools' information for families across Bath and West Wiltshire

Six friends, aged eight and nine, are preparing to tackle a 300-mile sponsored cycle this June, in aid of The Forever Friends Appeal – the official NHS charity for the Royal United Hospitals Bath (RUH).

Self-dubbed ‘The Biker Boys’, Alfie, Bertie, Harry, Luke, Finlay and Angus are year four classmates at Marshfield Primary School in Wiltshire. They will each play their part in reaching the combined total, as they cycle along the Kennet & Avon Canal and Bath to Bristol cycle path during the weekend of Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 June.

Alfie Goodliffe masterminded the idea after being inspired by a 10-year-old fundraiser on BBC’s Children In Need, who had cycled the same distance. Whilst watching, he turned to his mum, Gemma, to ask if she could help see if his friends would like to join him in a sponsored team cycle ride. The other five quickly took up the challenge! 

The Children’s Ward at the RUH was chosen to benefit as this is where Gemma works as a paediatric doctor, and all of the boys had visited at some point – either to receive treatment themselves or to support a sibling who was unwell. Originally planned pre-pandemic in 2020, the cycle was postponed but the boys didn’t lose enthusiasm and were even more motivated after what’s been a particularly testing time for the NHS.

“What inspired me was a boy a bit older than me who cycled 300 miles for children in need,” commented Alfie. “I chose cycling because it’s a challenge as your legs get really tired out after a while but you can go further on a bike than if you walk or run. 300 miles walking would take forever. I wanted to help the poorly children as it’s not very nice in hospital without all your friends and family. I’m most looking forward to working as a team with my friends and all the snacks!”

The boys have embraced the challenge from the start, quickly meeting to come up with their team name – The Biker Boys – and designing a logo (brought to life by Luke’s dad, designer James Clark). 

A JustGiving Page has been set up and they have currently raised over £1,500 of their £2,000 target:

Marshfield Primary School is fully getting behind The Biker Boys by holding an assembly – led by the children – to raise awareness of their charity cycle. As well as posters around the school and information in the newsletter, a fundraising raffle and flapjack sale are also planned.

Two local businesses are also kindly supporting the boys. Angelfish Swimmers headquartered in Bath, where Alfie swims, is the first. Owner, Jen Stoneman, has donated named hoodies and tops for each of the boys and is running a guess the name of the bear competition poolside, with a Forever Friends soft toy generously donated by the Brownsword family as the prize. Meanwhile, Chippenham’s Hale Vets is also contributing by providing cycling vests for the teammates.

Laura Cherry, Events and Community Coordinator at The Forever Friends Appeal, said, “On behalf of everyone at The Forever Friends Appeal, I’d like to say a huge well done and thank you to The Biker Boys for all that they have achieved so far. By taking on this epic challenge, they have already raised an incredible sum to support children across the RUH’s catchment area at a time they need it most – we think they’re all amazing! Good luck to the whole team.”