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Black Country parents cycling from John O'Groats to Lands End in memory of baby daughter

By Thomas Parkes | Darlaston | News | Published:

"I want Harper's name to be heard in every town. And if I can touch every town on the way, from Scotland to Cornwall, I know we'll raise a significant amount to help multiple children."

Nick Hall and partner Ellie Dixon from Darlaston with a photo of daughter Harper last year.

Those are the words of a couple from the Black Country who are taking on a charity cycle ride from John O'Groats to Land's End in memory of their baby daughter.

Nick Hall and Ellie Dixon, from Darlaston, are aiming to raise £10,000 for two charities through the 874-mile journey on July 31 next year in tribute to Harper.

The baby, who was only a few weeks old, died on July 4 last year after doctors at Birmingham Children's Hospital discovered she had a heart problem.

Now her parents are set to take on a mammoth fundraising challenge to create a legacy for their daughter – and ensure each family has support.

The challenge had been scheduled for August 1 this year but was delayed as a result of coronavirus.

Nick, aged 36, said: "When Harper was in hospital she went through an awful lot and when we came out we had no help and support.

Baby Harper

"The challenge is something which is helping us with our grief and it's giving us something to focus on – we're leaving a legacy for her and her name will live on for a bit.

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"We want to make a difference in some families' lives – and we wanted Harper to touch them in some way, as a legacy."

And they have called on businesses to help sponsor them to help hit their target – with each company receiving their logo on a support car.

Companies such as Intercoat – where Nick works – along with jb valeting, BBC WM, W&J Window Cleaning Services, Beatz Fitness, KDM Scaffolding LTD and Caroline Day Trips and Holidays have all sponsored the call.

Willenhall-based sign company Manifestation Design and Signs have put the signs on the vehicle – as well as their own – to showcase the support they've all offered, with other businesses asked to do the same.

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The donations will be split between Little Hearts Matter and the Children's Heart Foundation (CHF) – with other fundraising efforts being shared on Facebook group Harper's Bows.

Baby Harper who had a heart condition

Mr Hall added: "I was thinking of a way to raise money and we needed a support vehicle. I said what if I could get businesses to help and they could have their name put on the car?

"I decided to phone around a few signage companies before I found Manifestation Design and Signs and they agreed to do it.

"We just want to thank people who have helped us along the way. It's another way for us to get donations and we're hoping businesses will help – they get some advertising on the car as well.

"We've already given the CHF a cheque for around £2,890 that's gone towards oxygen machines for children at home.

"We're having a meeting soon with Little Hearts Matters to discuss where the funding will go."

Pictured with Ellie and Nick is Daniel Lawrence, sales assistant at Manifesto

The challenge – as well as being a lasting legacy for their daughter – was chosen due to due to it being the spot where Ellie announced she was pregnant with Harper.

The family, including eight-year-old Alfie and three-year-old Archie, had vowed to visit John O'Groats as a family of five – and recreate a photograph of they took at Land's End.

Ellie said they were confident of completing the challenge ahead, adding: "We've got Harper to keep us going through it all. Even on the bad days we know we're doing it for her."

People who want to donate can visit the JustGiving page by searching "Harpers Bows" or through PayPal by visiting https://www.paypal.me/HarperB927 or the Harper's Bows Facebook group.

Businesses who wish to sponsor the couple's challenge should contact Nick Hall on 07555602373 or by emailing NickHall4891@icloud.com

Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Senior Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at thomas.parkes@expressandstar.co.uk.

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