The uncle of a girl who captured the heart of the town is appealing for help as he is set to launch a tough challenge in her memory.
George Bell, 57, and life-long friend Andrew Carey are in training to cycle 460 miles from John O’Groats in Scotland to Hartlepool.
It is in memory of George’s niece Becky Bell, who lost her battle with a brain tumour in 2012 aged just seven.
The money they raise will go to the charity Keep Smiling for Becky, run by Becky’s mum Julie Bell, which helps other families living with terminal illness.
But first George, known by family and friends as Pod, needs to find a new bike after his was stolen in Hartlepool town centre recently.
He said: “I fastened it to some railings at the underground car park of the shopping centre and when I came back half an hour later it was gone. I have borrowed another at the moment.”
He and Andrew are due to start on July 9 and it is expected to take six days.
George, a joiner from Rift House, said: “I have done the odd coast to coast but wanted to do this to help Becky’s charity.
“We will be cycling 75 to 80 miles a day. I am trying to start training for longer now because it is a longer ride.”
Members of Becky’s family have raised thousands of pounds for her charity and also child cancer charity CLIC Sargent by taking part in sponsored walks and big events like Hartlepool’s Miles for Men and Race for Life.
The website keepsmilingforbecky.com helps families with terminally-ill children by offering funds to make children’s wishes come true and vital financial help for the families in collaboration with CLIC Sargent.
Supporters can sponsor George now by donating to the website https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/keepsmilingforbecky