Lily's big ride for the Cranford Hospice

By Alice Lock

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Young talent: Up and coming cyclist Lily Stephens, 12, is riding for the Cranford Hospice on Saturday in the USO relay at Twyford.
Young talent: Up and coming cyclist Lily Stephens, 12, is riding for the Cranford Hospice on Saturday in the USO relay at Twyford.

Lily Stephens is using her love of cycling to help raise money for the Cranford Hospice on Saturday.

Lily has planned to ride solo in the USO Hawke's Bay relay at Twyford in honour of her aunty who recently lost her battle to cancer.

"She spent her final days at the Cranford Hospice so I want to ride for her and the hospice as they looked after her."

Lily had told her aunty she wanted to do this so planned to complete it by the end of the year.

The up and coming cyclist is in year eight at Havelock North Intermediate School and decided to make this ride also a part of the William Pipe Challenge, which had a section on community service.

"I have already reached my 100 per cent for the challenge in community service but I wanted to add this on anyway as it is something I want to do."

She has always had a passion for cycling and ever since she was in year four she would ride a bike around the home until her father David brought her a road bike a few years later.

"I have always loved riding, I ride to school most mornings along the limestone from Haumoana and me and Dad do lots of rides together."

Lily said she was really excited about the ride on Saturday and would be wearing a Cranford Hospice shirt during the race.

"They have given me a shirt and donation boxes and are also looking for sponsorship from other places."

She has never done a ride like this before and was looking forward to achieving her challenge.

It would take her six hours to complete and she would ride around 150km.

Her mother, Erica Stephens, said usually you had to be 16 and over to enter the individual part of the USO ride but they were allowing Lily to do it at just 12, "which was great".

She has travelled the country already this year entering in a variety of competitions from the North Island Champs in Taupo where she got second to the New Zealand champs in Palmerston North.

"I just want to keep cycling and I create my goals as they come. I don't want to make it too competitive as I want to keep enjoying it," Lily said.

The ride on Saturday is extremely special to Lily and she hoped to raise $500 by the end of the race, which she could then present to the Cranford Hospice.

Cranford Hospice marketing fundraising manager Nathalie van Dort said they were very excited about having such a young person support Cranford in this way.

Donations can be made to 03-0658-0005676-29 with the reference 'Lily USO'.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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