Hartlepool youngster uses pedal power to help fire-hit school

4-year-old Poppie-Ann Richardson setting off on her sponsored bike ride, with family and friends, around Ward Jackson Park, Hartlepool, on Saturday, raising money for Rift House Primary School where her nursery class was destroyed by fire.
4-year-old Poppie-Ann Richardson setting off on her sponsored bike ride, with family and friends, around Ward Jackson Park, Hartlepool, on Saturday, raising money for Rift House Primary School where her nursery class was destroyed by fire.

A determined four-year-old smashed her cycling goal to raise cash for her school which was devastated by fire.

Little Poppy-Ann Richardson, decided to do a sponsored bike ride to boost funds for blaze-hit Rift House Primary School in Hartlepool.

4-year-old Poppie-Ann Richardson celebrates her ride.

4-year-old Poppie-Ann Richardson celebrates her ride.

The Kipling Road youngster, a nursery pupil at the school, took on the hottest day of the year so far to cycle around Ward Jackson Park and raised more than £500, with money still coming in.

She said: “It was really hot and I was sweating at the end.

“I wanted to do it for the school because it got burned.”

The fire earlier this month left the nursery destroyed and extensive damage to the Year 3 classroom and the newly-refurbished play area.

“It was really hot and I was sweating at the end”

Poppie-Ann Richardson

The community has been rallying round with hundreds of donations and offers of help pouring in, as well as £2,600 raised through a crowdfunding page.

Poppie-Ann’s mum, Katie, said she was very proud of her daughter for doing the event and was delighted with how much she raised.

The mum-of-two, said: “She did really, really well, she cycled all the way without stopping and was very fast at the end.

“I was surprised how fast she was, because she is normally quite slow. I am very proud of her.”

Katie, who is also mum to two-year-old Evie-Ann, said family and friends went along to the park to cheer her on and even made her a banner.

She said: “People who were in the park at the time were also giving donations and she managed to raise £30 while we were there.”

Poppie-Ann will be handing over the money to the school so staff there can decide what they want to buy with it and what they need most.

Katie said the children had been enjoying watching baby caterpillars growing, but sadly they were lost in the blaze.

Although she has since bought the school some new caterpillars, Katie hopes if there is any money left over the children will be able to go on a trip to Butterly World in Stockton.

She said: “I think it would be lovely for the children to visit Butterfly World.”

Police and fire officers are still investigating the blaze which tore through part of the Masefield Road school on Sunday, May 7.

Shortly after the blaze officers arrested two teenagers, aged 13 and 14, on suspicion of arson before they were later released.