Schoolboy’s Virtual Cycle to Top of Everest for Charity

Superstars from the world of cycling have sent their messages of support to a 13-year-old boy who is undertaking a virtual bike ride to the summit of Mount Everest for charity

Schoolboy Theo Hester heard about the financial struggles of St Peter’s Hospice in Bristol and decided to do something to help raise much-needed funds, to help the hospice continue to provide care during the pandemic.

Theo’s virtual cycle ride will see the youngster peddle 8,848m (29,029ft) in a challenge expected to take between 15-16 hours. Theo will be using an app called Zwift in the challenge, known as ‘Everesting’ to cycle the height of the mountain on a turbo trainer bike.

British cyclists Mark Beaumont and Geraint Thomas have recorded videos to encourage Theo, with Beaumont saying: “I heard about your amazing virtual Everesting challenge happening pretty soon and I wanted to wish you the best. “Doing an Everesting is hard, hard, hard, let alone doing it virtually.

“The mental side of that will be as tough as the physical side. You’re 13 and I’m not sure I could have done that when I was 13.”

Staff at the hospice described Theo as a “total inspiration.” Johnny Flanagan, from St Peter’s Hospice, said: “We sadly had to close five of our beds last year. All the fundraising events just went away.”

“Theo is doing brilliantly, and it’s not just the money, this kind of thing inspires other people to do other things,”

So far Theo has raised £5,000 but aims to reach a target of £8,848 – which is a pound for each metre cycled.

His mother Fiona Hester, who volunteers at the hospice said she was really proud of him.

“I told Theo that the hospital had been struggling and that it had lost a lot of money last year during the pandemic, so he really wanted to take on this challenge and do what he could,” she said.

“Theo aspires to be a professional cyclist. He is super motivated and determined to do this, I think I’m carrying more anxiety about it than he is.”

It was Fiona who contacted the star cyclists Geraint Thomas letting them know about Theo’s challenge.

Geraint Thomas said in his video message: “Massive challenge but great to see you doing something for a very worthy cause. Just wanted to say massive respect and good luck mate.”

Mrs Hester said Theo could not believe the messages, adding: “They are his absolute heroes, he reveres them.”