Rotary in London Headquarters, 6 York Gate, London NW1 4QG.
6pm, Saturday, 21ST April, 2012
9am, Sunday, 22nd April (Competitors gather 8am)
Corner of Monument Street and Lower Thames Street in London.
11-year-old Lydia Cross, the inspirational young fundraiser from North Devon who lost both
legs to meningitis when she was two, will be the first person to receive a racing wheelchair
through Rotary’s Wheel Appeal with the charity WheelPower.
The Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI) Young Citizen Award 2010
winner will be testing out her new set of wheels by taking it for a test run in the London Mini
Marathon this Sunday, 22nd April.
Lydia is usually seen taking part in events using her running blades but she has taken up
wheelchair racing in the past few months and the three-mile Mini-Marathon for 11 to 17
year olds will be her second wheelchair race. Through her determined efforts, she has
raised more than £65,000 for Help for Heroes, becoming the only Child Patron for the
charity, and for the Royal British Legion.
She will receive her racing wheelchair ahead of the London Mini-Marathon at Rotary in
London Headquarters where Mike Thorn, coordinator of Rotary Wheel Appeal, will be
joined by the Chief Executive of WheelPower, Martin McElhatton, and Job King from
The £3,000 to fund the wheelchair was raised by Rotarians from around Great Britain and
Ireland who joined the chief executive of Wheelpower in a sponsored parallel relay around
a hotel in Birmingham during a national RIBI event in March.
Lydia is aiming to raise £6,000 by taking part in the London Mini-Marathon for both H4H
and the WheelPower charity. The charity aims to buy 2012 racing chairs so that other
people with disabilities can compete and is being supported by many Rotary clubs.
Jodie Cross, Lydia’s mother, said: “Lydia wants to donate half of what she raises on
Sunday to WheelPower so that another child with disabilities can benefit from a racing
wheelchair like she has and the other half will go to Help for Heroes.”
WheelPower Chief Executive Martin McElhatton said: “We are delighted that Lydia is
getting her racing wheelchair. This is the first wheelchair that is being presented as part of
the Wheel Appeal. We hope she enjoys the London Mini-Marathon.”
District Governor-Elect for Rotary in London, Eve Conway, who is on RIBI’s Olympic
and Paralympic Committee, said: “Lydia is a truly inspirational youngster who has raised
so much for Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion. We are delighted that she is
receiving the first racing wheelchair through the Rotary Wheel Appeal. It just shows how
amazing she is that she wants to raise money during the London Mini-Marathon so that
she can give back and provide the opportunity for another youngster with disabilities to also
receive a racing wheelchair.”
Lydia was introduced to wheelchair racing after GB coach Job King approached the family
to ask if Lydia was interested in athletics. “He suggested Lydia tried wheelchair racing after
he came down from Coventry to see Lydia on her blades running but as she was waiting
to have surgery on her legs to have the bones trimmed again, it was quite painful for her,”
With the support of North Devon Athletics Club, Lydia has been training through the winter
with both blades and racing chair. Last weekend, she and sister Mollie competed for the
first time at an athletics meeting in Plymouth. Lydia ran 100 metres on her blades in 19.2
seconds, as well as completing the wheelchair 100M and 200M in 25.4 and 50.2 seconds,
winning three gold medals in the process. Sister Millie also achieved second in the Vortex
Anyone who would like to sponsor Lydia can go to www.justgiving/Lydia-Cross.
What do Rotarians do?
It is said that every minute of every day Rotary will touch the lives of millions somewhere
in the world. By combining their skills and resources, members of Rotary are able to make
a real contribution to the lives of others. In local communities alone, each club raises tens
of thousands of pounds for community projects and local charities, often more. Members
also volunteer their time – supervising community events, running a host of projects aimed
at promoting the achievements of young people, coordinating educational programmes, and
supporting local businesses.