South Yorkshire gym staff riding high for schoolgirl

Abigail Cook and her dad Martin with gym mascot Derek the Dolphin.
Abigail Cook and her dad Martin with gym mascot Derek the Dolphin.
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STAFF and members at a South Yorkshire gym helped a terminally-ill youngster achieve her dreams by cycling hundreds of miles in a charity challenge.

Workers at the Fitness Flex gym took part in the bikeathon to raise money for seven-year-old Abigail Cook, who suffers from the rare Batten disease.

More than 35 people took part on spinning and exercise bikes during the day, attempting to cycle the equivalent distance to London and back.

But the fundraisers were so enthusiastic they exceeded the set distance, covering 618 miles – nearly twice that of the original target.

Batten disease is an incurable, degenerative disease which affects the nervous system, and could cause Abigail, from Warmsworth, Doncaster, to lose her mobility and sight.

When doctors told Abigail and her family she may not live to see her 14th birthday, the youngster set up a bucket list of things she wanted to achieve and put swimming with dolphins in Orlando, Florida at the top.

The wishlist has hit the £10,000 target needed for the trip, but Abigail still has other wishes she wants to come true, including taking a family holiday to Tenerife.

Derek the Dolphin, the mascot for gym owners Barnsley Premier Leisure, joined the schoolgirl at the fitness centre, in High Fishergate, Doncaster.