North-east villagers to cycle 150 miles to raise funds for little Lucy’s wheelchair

A group of active village residents are planning to cycle 150 miles in and effort to help a family in need.

More than 30 hardy volunteers are set to cycle from Loch Lomond to Johnshaven over the course of three days from April 28 to 30 to raise money for the Townhill family.

Roy and Lucy Townhill, aged seven and five respectively, were both diagnosed with a rare degenerative neuromuscular condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 3, following years of diagnostic tests.

FRIENDS: Left, Roy and Lucy Townhill and, right, Roy and Lucy with their godmother Imogen Stewart.

Mum Allyson is also a wheelchair user, after an accident left her with a spinal cord injury when she was 12.

SMA attacks the nerve cells that run from the spinal cord to the muscles and its affects vary from person to person, but unfortunately for Lucy it means that she cannot walk safely outside of the family home.

Faced with a bill of £23,500 for a new powered-wheelchair and £5,000 for an accompanying docking station, neighbours and friends rallied round to organise the sponsored cycle.

The new wheelchair will provide a height-adjustable seat, allowing Lucy to keep eye contact with her peers as they grow taller, and a remote “stop” function.

Though Roy does not require a wheelchair at the moment, it is already clear he will also need a lot of help in the future.

Stuart Townhill, father to Roy and Lucy, credits his neighbours for the idea of a sponsored cycle.

He said: “My neighbours, who are keen cyclists, came up with the idea of cycling from Loch Lomond to Johnshaven.

“We’ve cycled before but not big distances, so this will suit our group’s wide range of age and ability.”

The keen cyclist in question is Imogen Stewart, who is also Roy’s godmother.

FAMILY: Mum and dad Stuart and Allyson Townhill, with their children Roy and Lucy. Inset, finishing point Johnshaven.

Imogen said: “I consider the Townhills family and all we want to do is make Lucy’s life a bit easier.

“Allyson is one of the most amazing women I know and Roy absolutely adores Lucy. He’d do anything for her.”

So far, 25 cyclists have confirmed their place on the trip and the group has planned a training session for later in the month.

On Sunday, April 30, the cyclists will be welcomed back to Johnshaven with a party thrown by other village residents.

Imogen said: “We want the community to really rally round.”

A JustGiving page set up by Roy and Lucy’s grandmother has already raised more then £14,000, which stands the family in good stead.

However, the Townhills have set their goal as £26,000 with 10% of the final amount going to SMA Support UK.

The fundraising goal may seem daunting, but Imogen remains committed to the task at hand.

She said: “We just want to give Lucy some independence so we will focus on that.”

Stuart added: “The support from the village has been great.”

To find out more and donate, click here

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