Schoolboy’s gift for Joe

Aaron Swarbrick, third from left, sets off from the DW Stadium with friends and family
Aaron Swarbrick, third from left, sets off from the DW Stadium with friends and family

A schoolboy has cycled more than 40 miles to raise money for those suffering with a rare and life-limiting disease.

Aaron Swarbrick, 11, battled Lancashire’s hilly terrain for more than five hours to travel the 42 miles between Wigan and Blackpool in aid of Joseph’s Goal.

The charity, set up by Paul and Emma Kendrick on behalf of their eight-year-old son Joe, aims to awareness of Non-Ketotic Hyperglycinemia NKH, a rare and genetic disorder which severely affects his development, as well as raise funds for research.

Last Friday, on Aaron’s 11th birthday, the youngster was given an authorised day off from school to join a group of cyclists in taking on the charity ride between DW Stadium and Bloomfield Road to watch Latics take on Blackpool FC.

His mum, Angela Durkin, has been arranging the bike rides for years however the 2017 is the first since 2015 as last season the two teams were in separate leagues.

“Aaron desperately wanted to do it this year,” she said. “We had done it every year for years but when they weren’t playing each other last year there wasn’t a game to ride to. When you have done things a few times it doesn’t always as much sponsorship anymore and Aaron wanted to help.

“We got a signed shirt from Wigan Latics Community Trust and he did a Facebook auction before they set off which raised around £130. I think we have got £500 to £600 overall.”

The group, which was made up of seven riders, including Aaron, spanning four decades, set off on Friday morning, October 20 at 10:30am, arriving at the Blackpool stadium for around 4pm.

As they are all Latics fans, six of the seven stayed over and celebrated by watching the game the following day, while one rider, Andy Galbraith, rode the 40 miles back on the same night, arriving back in Wigan at 7pm.

“Aaron had a little bit of a breakdown at Lytham St Annes,” said Angela. “He got off his bike and said he couldn’t carry on but the fellas were great and talked him back on his bike and helped him through the rest of it. They were his little support team really.” Angela added: “He said he wants to do it again next year.”