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Inspiring six-year olds get their walking boots on to raise money for Freddie’s Fight and Candlelighters

Two six-year olds have come up with their very own way to help support two worthwhile charities – and the town of Helmsley is putting plans together to celebrate their achievement.

Gina Gray and Joseph McDonald, both six, were inspired to do something to help the causes of Freddie’s Fight and Candlelighters after seeing an advert on television which showed young people ringing a bell once they beat the fight against cancer. The two developed plans to undertake a 10-mile sponsored walk to raise vital money for Freddie, who is a close family friend of the Grays, and Candlelighters, which offers support to families affected by childhood cancer.

Freddie Thompson was diagnosed with an aggressive stage four neuroblastoma when he was just two years old. The youngster has already undergone chemotherapy and surgery, and his family are now trying to raise £250,000 to send him for pioneering vaccine treatment in America which could decrease his chances of a relapse.

The walk will take place on Saturday 16th March. Gina, from Thirsk, and Joseph, from Sutton under Whitestonecliffe, who both go to Knayton Primary School, will be setting off from Joseph’s home at 10am. From there they and their mums will head up Sutton Bank with a quick stop at the North York Moors National Park Visitor Centre, before following the Cleveland Way down through Cold Kirby, Rievaulx and finally into Helmsley. 

The families hope that people will gather in the Market Place in Helmsley to welcome them back (with an anticipated arrival time of between 2pm and 3pm), and the Black Swan Hotel will be arranging some refreshments and a celebration for the weary wanderers. Collection buckets to add to the fundraising total will also be available. Other walkers are welcome to join in at any point during the day, and the pair’s progress can be monitored via a special Facebook page at: https://bit.ly/2NLlT4F

Jo Gray, Gina’s mum, said: “Gina and Joseph are both very excited and have been practising walking in preparation for the big day. We’re very proud of them for deciding to undertake this challenge for two amazing charities. I cannot believe how the whole community has come together to help with the fundraising for Freddie’s Fight, it’s amazing. Gina and Joseph decided they wanted to help more children be able to ring that bell signaling the end of cancer treatment – and so they set themselves quite a tough challenge for little legs! We hope lots of people will come and join us outside the Black Swan in Helmsley in the afternoon to make it a great occasion, and hopefully raise even more funds for these two important causes.”

Anyone wishing to sponsor Gina and Joseph can do so at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/josephginaswalkforfreddiesfightcandlelighters