Family's world-wide fund-raising bid

Martin Wrigley and daughters Ellyse, Evie and Halli at Brooke's gravestone. (s)
Martin Wrigley and daughters Ellyse, Evie and Halli at Brooke's gravestone. (s)

A Ribble Valley family is raising money on both sides of the world for a hospital which cared for a Clitheroe girl battling a rare heart condition.

Martin Wrigley (48) is hoping to cruise his way to fund-raising success by hosting Drive With a Twist in Clitheroe this Saturday.

Martin Wrigley with his daughters Ellyse, Evie and Halli. (s)

Martin Wrigley with his daughters Ellyse, Evie and Halli. (s)

It is one half of a family fund-raising mission taking place this month in aid of Ronald McDonald House and in memory of Martin's daughter Brooke who died in 2000.

For the inspiration behind the event is the gruelling 1000km sponsored bike ride in South Australia to be completed by Martin's brother-in-law, Mark Sorell.

The 51 year-old cycling enthusiast decided to take on the challenge in memory of his niece who received 16 days of care at Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool.

"[Ronald McDonald House] is an amazing facility which allows families to stay close to their sick child and created a safe haven for my family at this tragic time," Mark said.

"My family in the UK have personally raised a lot of money for the Ronald McDonald House in Liverpool and now it's my time to do the same for Ronald McDonald House in Adelaide."

Mark is already on track to reach his $6000 target for the Adelaide facilities and his brother-in-law couldn't be happier.

"I am delighted that Mark has chosen to undertake this ride in memory of Brooke," Martin said.

"He has always been supportive of everything we do but as he lives in Australia I feel he sometimes feels a bit too far away to contribute to fund-raising efforts but this shows his commitment to such a good cause."

To prepare, Mark has been regularly riding 70km in a morning before work and has already completed two days of the ride in temperatures in excess of 35°C.

And it's also the "amazing" support back home in aid of the Liverpool house which has touched Martin.

For, as he said: "It was such a traumatic time when we were there after Brooke was born and although nothing eases the pain totally of what we went through, with the support of the staff and the vicinity of the house, things were made slightly easier.

"If through raising lots of money we can make the same situation a little more bearable for families in a similar situation then we will have achieved what we set out to do."

Drive with a Twist will have heads spinning all night long thanks to hilarious entertainment from Ruth E. Cockburn, before headlining band DRIVE takes to the stage.

There will also be fabulous raffle prizes up for grabs, with items being donated from the likes of Everton Football Club and Lancashire Cricket Club.

"In total, we have raised over £7000 from a sponsored bike ride, organ concerts, a fashion show and even a fancy dress darts competition!" said Martin.

"I am hoping that this is going to be another huge success and will provide much needed support for the people who need it whilst staying at the house in Liverpool.

"Families stay [there] free of charge whilst children are being cared for in the hospital and it provided my family with much needed support at what was a very difficult time.

"The annual running costs of the house are £650K and all is raised by voluntary contributions.

"I am hopeful that we can raise as much as possible for a cause that is very close to my heart."

And it's the same caring spirit which is spurring Mark on throughout his tough challenge.

"I dedicate my ride to Brooke; gone too soon and always in my heart," he said.

"She will be with me every pedal I turn."

The event is being held in St Michael and St John's Catholic Centre, Lowergate, at 7-30pm and tickets are still available by contacting either Martin on 07930638464 or Ric on 07826700703 or visiting The Ale House, Key Street or The Catholic Club.

Or to help Mark reach the last leg of his mission by making a donation, please visit https://ride-2017.everydayhero.com/au/ride4brooke