03/11/07 Cancer Cycle Ride


A Schoolboy who cycled 40 miles for cancer charities just weeks after the disease claimed his mother has been honoured with an award for his courage.

Steven Andrews, from Nettleham, near Lincoln, received the Diana Award for his feat at his school William Farr in Welton yesterday.

The 14-year-old said he was “chuffed to bits” after earning an award given to youngsters for inspirational achievements.

Steven cycled 40 miles with nine school friends in March – from Fiskerton to Whisby Nature Park and back – raising £3,000 for St Barnabas Hospice Trust and Cancer Research.

The plucky teenager had begun rounding up his pals to raise money for the event the day after his mum Heather’s four-and-a-half year battle with the disease finally ended.

After receiving his award, Steven told the Echo that looking back it was difficult to understand what he had managed to achieve.

“I can’t believe I actually did it,” he said.

“But I just felt I needed to do something to move on.

“If I do something, I go for it and I will not stop.”

He said his mum’s fighting spirit had given him the determination to keep going, and thanked his friends and the school for their support over the last few months.

“Without them and my family, I would not have been able to keep going the way that I have,” he said.

Steven’s father Stuart (39) said he was very proud of what his son had achieved. “He has shown a huge amount of indomitability of spirit and courage in facing a tragic set of circumstances, where many boys would just have folded,” he said.

Headteacher Paul Strong also praised Steven for his “remarkable courage” and said he was a model pupil.

“He lost his mum, but instead of sitting around and moping, he went out and did something that showed remarkable presence of mind and courage,” he said.

“He says he wants to join the Navy. Well, if he does, I think he’ll become an admiral.”

Steven says he will not be hanging his cycling shoes up any time soon.

Next April, he is planning to do the charity bike ride again – but is this time hoping to persuade even more people to join in.

And the battling spirit clearly runs in the family, as dad Stuart has just handed a cheque to St Barnabas Hospice Trust and Cancer Research for £5,120 after cycling the South Downs Way.