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North-east girl's pedal power raises money for children's charity

By Kyle Ritchie

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A seven-year-old girl from Westhill, who learned to cycle in lockdown, has biked 100km in three weeks to raise more than £700 for the Childline base in the north-east.

Chloe McNeil took on the challenge through December to raise money for the charity, so that more contacts from children can be answered.

Childline, run by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), has provided a lifeline to many children in Scotland throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

The service will continue to run over the festive period, including on Christmas Day, and the key worker counsellors and supervisors will be there to listen to any child or young person who has any worries on their mind.

Chloe completed the challenge in a variety of places including Duthie Park in Aberdeen.

Chloe McNeil has raised more than £700 for the Childline base in the north-east.
Chloe McNeil has raised more than £700 for the Childline base in the north-east.

She said: “I didn’t like it when we were in lockdown, but then I realised that other children might like it even less if they were having any difficulties at home with their family.

“I wanted to raise money for Childline because it’s somewhere children can contact if they are worried about anything or if are being bullied. The more money I raise, the more children can call and not feel lonely this Christmas.

“I’ve been going out cycling with my dad at the weekends, but he runs and has to try to keep up with me! It’s been really fun doing the challenge, and I’m happy I got to finish before Christmas.”

Chloe’s mum, Christine, has volunteered with Childline for more than six years and now works as a sessional supervisor in the base as well as continuing her volunteering.

She said: “I’m so unbelievably proud of Chloe for the challenge she’s managed to complete. She was involved with some charity work through her school, and off her own back she came to me with the idea of doing the big cycle to raise money for Childline.

"She was determined to finish her 100km before Christmas so she’s been out every weekend making sure to get her kilometres in.”

Anyone who would like to sponsor Chloe can do so through her Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/chloe-mcneil

The NSPCC is the leading children’s charity fighting to end child abuse in the UK. Using voluntary donations, which make up around 90 per cent of its funding, it helps children who have been abused to rebuild their lives, protect children at risk, and find the best ways of preventing child abuse from ever happening.

Its Childline service provides a safe, confidential place for children to contact 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Children and young people can contact Childline about any worries by calling 0800 1111 or visiting childline.org.uk

The NSPCC Helpline is also available for advice and support on 0808 800 5000 or via help@nspcc.org.uk

Community fundraising manager for NSPCC Scotland Linda Hamilton said: “Chloe’s challenge has been a great way to round off a year where our amazing volunteers have had to come up with new and creative ways of fundraising, with most of our usual events cancelled or postponed.

“We’re all proud of her commitment to supporting the NSPCC and its vital Childline service.

“Fundraising is a great way to help us be there for children, and if anyone would like to take on a challenge in the new year like Chloe’s, or come up with a fundraising idea of their own, then we would like them to get in touch.”

Anyone who would like to help raise funds for the charity, can contact scotlandfundraising@nspcc.org.uk, visit www.nspcc.org.uk/support-us/events-fundraising or to make a donation visit www.nspcc.org.uk/support-us/ways-to-give/donate

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