Rowan, 10, raises £1,000 for charity with walking challenge

Tom Wilkinson, PA
·2-min read

A 10-year-old girl has raised more than £1,000 for charity by setting herself a walking challenge in honour of her grandfather, who has multiple sclerosis.

Rowan Ridley, who has Down’s syndrome, has been sponsored to walk 20 miles – the distance from her house in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, to her grandfather Geoffrey Ridley’s home in Belsay, Northumberland.

She has broken the distance into separate trips as she has never walked that far before.

Rowan Ridley broke the 20 mile-target into manageable chunks (Family handout/PA)
Rowan Ridley broke the 20 mile-target into manageable chunks (Family handout/PA)

Rowan has missed her grandfather, whom she calls Parky, during lockdown and has not been able to see him very often, so decided to do something positive by walking in aid of the MS Society.

And by Wednesday her online fundraiser had reached £1,008.

Rowan said before starting the challenge: “I don’t get to see him much but hopefully I will get to see him over Easter.

“He lives 20 miles away and I am going to walk 20 miles.

“Please sponsor me, it means a lot to me. Thank you, bye.”

the schoolgirl was joined by her grandfather, Geoffrey Ridley, on one of the walks (Family handout/PA)
the schoolgirl was joined by her grandfather, Geoffrey Ridley, on one of the walks (Family handout/PA)

Her father, Seth Ridley, who runs a design agency, said: “She came up with the idea of walking 20 miles.

“For a lot of people that doesn’t seem like a great deal, but she has Down’s syndrome and has never walked that far so it is a fair effort for her.”

On the latest walk, she was joined by her 82-year-old grandfather, who uses a wheelchair.

Rowan will complete her 20-mile challenge later in the school holidays, with brother Ruben, eight, and her mother, Ann Winter.

Rowan took family dog Vena with her on her walk (Family handout/PA)
Rowan took family dog Vena with her on her walk (Family handout/PA)

Clare Horwood, of the MS Society, said: “Rowan proves you’re never too young to make a difference, and she’s blown us away with her hard work and determination.

“We’re so impressed with her for taking on this tough challenge in honour of her grandad, and for raising such an incredible amount of money along the way.”

– To sponsor Rowan please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rowan-ridley1