COP26: Patients from six children's hospitals to cycle from London to Glasgow for climate change fight

Staff and patients from six children’s hospitals are cycling from London to the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow to raise awareness about the negative impact of pollution on children’s health.

The initiative, Ride For Their Lives, will call on world leaders to make air pollution a policy priority.

Once they’ve arrived in Glasgow, the group will hand over letters to political representatives at COP.

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Staff and patients from six children's hospitals around the UK will cycle from London to Glasgow for COP26. Picture: PA

Teams from Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), Evelina London Children’s Hospital, Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, Sheffield Children’s Hospital, the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle, and the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow set off from Granary Square in London to the sounds of cheers from family members and supporters.

One cyclist, Toby Hancock, 18, has been a patient of GOSH since he was a toddler due to Marfan Syndrome.

The hereditary syndrome affects connective tissue, causing those affected to be tall and thin, as well as affecting the function of their internal organs.

Toby, who is 6ft 10in and walks with the aid of crutches, said he would be making the journey to Glasgow despite his health issues.

“I’m riding every day, but I won’t be cycling the full way because of health reasons,” he said.

“I use crutches day to day. It’s a personal challenge for me.”

Toby said he joined the trip to help raise awareness about air pollution as well as out of gratitude to GOSH.

“They have helped me massively with various health conditions”, he said.

“I am grateful enough to not be seriously affected by the air pollution around London, but I have friends with respiratory conditions who have been seriously affected by it.”

There are 70 cyclists overall taking part, with 26 planning to cycling the full distance.

They will cycle almost 500 miles in stages, and will arrive at Gartnavel Hospital in Glasgow on Halloween.

One cyclist, nurse Samantha Drew, said she had decided to join the event after her children made her more aware about climate change.

“They learn about it in school, and they’re the ones who actually made me really aware about climate change”, she said.

Ms Drew said she was doing the cycle to inspire her daughter, who had told her she feels as if there is nothing she can do about climate change.


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