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1st Jul, 2022

Puppy and pedalo power for fund-raising Warwickshire duo

A LESS familiar vessel was spotted along a stretch of The Grand Union Canal yesterday – but it was all in the name of a good cause.

Friends Alex Pearson from Stratford and Emma Brayne from Warwick were joined by two canine companions as they travelled almost 12km – and negotiated 27 locks – in a pedalo for children’s charity Molly Olly’s Wishes.

The pair, who had trained for the 11-hour challenge, pedalled from Radford Semele to Hatton Locks, to boost funds for the Warwick-based charity.

Alex, a community champion of Morrisons, in Leamington, said: “It went quite well considering all the locks and the length of the journey.

“Our main aim is to raise money and awareness for the charity but have some fun doing it. We had a lot of laughs on the way.”

The girls were joined by Alex’s dogs Archie and Chester – at least for most of the route.

Alex added: “The dogs were really good but we had to keep an eye on them and Archie did have a little dunk in the water half way through. But apart from that it all went very smoothly.”

They were also grateful for all impromptu donations and messages of support they received en route, including from Warwick mayor Richard Edgington.

Molly Olly’s Wishes was established in 2011 following the death of Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw’s eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer.

The organisation provides emotional support to children with terminal or life-limiting illnesses, and their families, as well as grant wishes and donate therapeutic toys and books to children and hospitals across the UK.

Part of more than £2.5million raised to date, has also been used to fund the first Molly Olly consultant in paediatric medicine at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

“Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “This has been one of the most unusual and fun challenges that we have seen over the years and is a lot harder than people may imagine. There are so many locks to contend with on the Hatton Flight. It was a hot day and a long way by pedalo!

“Alex, Emma and their team of helpers and supporters were brilliant and did it with a laugh and big smiles on their faces the whole way. It was a great way to get people talking because it was novel and has definitely helped to raise awareness as well as much-needed funds.

“They had a lovely welcome from the Hatton Locks Café who stayed open especially to greet them. Thank you to them all and everyone who has donated and special thanks to Alex for her endless enthusiasm and commitment to helping make a difference to so many. Molly Olly’s are very grateful to you.”

Alex added: “We’re going to have aches and pains but we’re helping create happy children through wishes that Molly Olly can offer. Our pain is nothing compared to what their families are going through or how their lives have changed.”

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