Posted: 05.08.20 at 07:59 by LAYTH YOUSIF @HitchinNubNews
An inspirational five-year-old girl from Codicote, near Hitchin has raised more than £25,000 by cycling a mile a day for 100 consecutive days during the coronavirus pandemic.
Betty-Leigh Allinson, wanted to help the much-loved Garden House Hospice Care, where her grandmother works after learning to ride during lockdown.
The hospice provides free specialist palliative care for patients, families and carers facing life limiting illnesses and has a medical team of doctors and nurses.
However, the outbreak of Covid-19 put a huge strain on the budgets of many hospitals, care homes and hospices up and down the land including north Herts, as well as halting the majority of fundraising efforts during lockdown. The Garden House Hospice was no different – which is where Betty came in.
The granddaughter of former 1980s Arsenal attacker Ian Allinson, wore a different football shirt on every ride, come hail, rain or shine - starting of course with the legendary red and white of the north London giants.
Her feats became so renowned even footballer David Beckham praised her incredible fundraising, with the former England and Manchester United star telling her she was: ‘So, so amazing.’
Big-hearted Betty-Leigh started fundraising back in April with £7 she had saved for a family trip to Disneyland, which was cancelled due to coronavirus.
The money will go to the Garden House - which has been haemorrhaging around £25,000 a week after the cancellation of charity fundraising events because of Covid.
"I feel really good about the money I've raised for the hospice, even if I was a little bit tired when I finished," big-hearted Betty told Hitchin Nub News.
Since first being written about in the Gooner Fanzine, back in April at the height of the pandemic, Betty's story has gone viral, featuring on ITV, BBC and Sky as well Australia and America.
Her mother, Faye Allinson, also told Hitchin Nub News: “I am so proud of Betty. She has worked so hard and has been so determined to raise £25,000 for the hospice,” adding, “We would just like to thank each and every single person who has donated.
“We’re absolutely humbled at the incredibly generous response from everyone for Betty’s efforts.”
Betty, Faye and husband Lee – who is the highly-rated boss of Hendon FC - were hopeful they could hit their initial target of £500, and were stunned to see the total rise daily throughout lockdown.
"Originally Betty was disappointed that her trip to Euro Disney had been cancelled because of the outbreak of coronavirus, but she soon decided to turn it into a positive by saying she wanted to help her ‘nanny’ and the hospice.
"We set the original target at £500 – from that point it just flew. We’re so proud of her.”
Football tops from across the UK have been donated by clubs and individuals to Betty-Leigh, who wore a different shirt every day.
Brave Betty, who only learned to ride during lockdown once had five falls in a day, but continued through gritted teeth, determined not to let down her ‘nanny’ and the hospice.
Every penny of the £25k Betty raised through her efforts cycling 100 miles in total will go directly to the hospice.
Her mother added: "Betty has been amazing.”
Garden House Hospice Care supports the communities of Hitchin, Stevenage, Letchworth and the surrounding towns of north Herts as well as villages in Central Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. The charity provides personalised and compassionate palliative end of life care for those in need following a diagnosis of a life limiting illness.