A SEVEN-year-old north Lancashire schoolboy is close to completing a huge cycling challenge.

Sammy Sutcliffe, from Caton, is attempting to pedal 700 miles in a year to raise money for Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft charity.

His mum Emma said: “We decided to set Sammy a goal of 500 miles over the school year as a challenge with an incentive of a new bike if he completed it.

“It is a huge distance for a seven-year-old and we thought we should try and raise some money for a good cause. Sammy was upset by some of the Smile Train pictures he saw and wanted to help another child to get their smile back and so that was it.”

Smile Train, which provides  free cleft repair surgeries to children in more than 85 countries, contacted Sammy to show him pictures of the children he was helping, which spurred him on to help more children. He reached 500 miles in June and raised £350 – enough to pay for two cleft repair surgeries – and a neighbour pledged an extra £50 if he upped his challenge to 700 miles.
Sammy is now on track to meet the target and hopes to raise £600.

He will be cycling 25-30 miles every week for the last seven weeks of the challenge which ends on July 23, when school breaks up for summer.

Mrs Sutcliffe said: “We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our friends, colleagues and neighbours. This is a huge challenge for a little boy to undertake but Sammy is extremely determined and we are very proud of him.”

For more information about Sammy’s cycle challenge, or to make a donation, visit his Just Giving page at http://www.justgiving. com/Emma-Sutcliffe2